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Heaven in a Tourniquet

One More Time For Me Pt. 8

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bri/stef lovers

You have reached placebobitch's creative journal. It will be full of band fanfiction and random pieces of artwork. There will be lots of slash and sexual encounters. None of the people in my stories belong to me with the exception of Ben, Clémantine, Marguerite and Claude. I only write for fun and the enjoyment of others, so please don't sue me!

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One More Time For Me Pt. 8

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bri/stef lovers
Title: One More Time For Me
Fandom: Placebo
Pairing: Bri/OC
Rating: NC-17
Notes: A massive massive fic that took me over a year to write. I've divided it into parts to make it easier to read.
Part 1 | Part 2 | Part 3 | Part 4 | Part 5 | Part 6 | Part 7 | Part 8 | Part 9 | Part 10 | Part 11 | Part 12



Monday 4th April:

Brian awoke to the extremely contented feeling that he was loved. A strong, safe arm was firmly twisted around his stomach and soft breathing tickled the skin on the back of his neck. He kept his eyes firmly shut and smiled slightly, trying to savour the feeling of a warm body pressed against his. Ben sighed in his sleep and moved a little, disturbing Brian’s comfortable position. Brian rolled over and grudgingly climbed out of bed after realising he was now far too awake to fall asleep again. He made his way into the shower and turned on the jet of hot water, leaning back against the cool tiles and letting the water run over his body. He closed his eyes as the liquid washed away the grime from the previous day and let his mind wander.

He was still mentally chastising himself for not telling Ben the whole truth yesterday. As nice as it was to declare their love to each other he had really wanted to ask him to live with him. It was like the final step in a serious relationship, and one that Brian was keen to undertake. But the timing of events had been rather inappropriate, what with Clémantine coming with them to the cinema after the fiasco with Luc. Although she knew of Brian’s plans to ask Ben to live with him, he felt it was a subject he should approach Ben on his own. Then the little thing that Ben had planned at home, it seemed too perfect a moment to break with a potentially fatal question. Brian sighed to himself. Who would have thought it would be this difficult to ask one simple question? It was as if it was fate’s way of telling him they weren’t meant to be together. But he was adamant that Ben would know everything before Monday was over. He would reveal the lot at the end of the day, once they had finished whatever they had planned.

Brian turned the shower off and stepped out of the cubicle, grabbing a towel from the back of the door. He roughly dried his short hair before wrapping the towel around his waist and wandering back into the bedroom. Ben was still where he had left him, spread out on the mattress and his face half buried under the duvet. Brian smiled at the sight and crept up to the bed, sitting on the side and leaning down towards Ben. He pressed his lips against his cheek and pulled back slightly, giggling as Ben’s nose wrinkled in his sleep. He tried again, this time pressing a kiss to the corner of his mouth and sat back satisfied as Ben’s eyelids flickered open. He watched as his eyes focused and his brain slowly registered the person sitting in front of him.

“Hey” Ben muttered as his lips twitched into a sleepy smile.

“Hey” Brian replied, reaching out to stroke his lover’s hair.

“How comes you’re up so early?” Ben asked, attempting to sit up slightly.

“Dunno, I just woke up and couldn’t go back to sleep.” Brian replied as he looked at the clock. “How comes you’re up so late?” he added as he smirked.

“Well some of us do work for a living!” Ben said indignantly. “Plus I had a really good shag last night..”

“Mmm..” Brian replied, grinning as he remembered the previous night.

“So what do we have planned for today?” Ben asked, looking hopeful that Brian would say nothing.

“I do believe we agreed to be on Marguerite and Claude’s team for the bowls competition?” Brian said after thinking for a second. Ben groaned and pulled the duvet above his head.

“Oh god no… That thing is so boring, why did we agree to it again?” he moaned, his voiced muffled through the quilt.

“Actually correction, you agreed to it when you were drunk.” Brian reminded him. Ben poked his head out from behind the duvet wearing a pitiful face.

“Really? Oh god I’m sorry.. We might die of boredom you know..” he said as he frowned.

“It might be fun.” Brian tried to reason brightly.

“I’ll remind you of those words later when you are contemplating trying to drown yourself in the sandpit.” Ben said darkly, still hiding in the safe confines of his quilt. Brian laughed at the grave expression on his face and pulled the duvet off him.

“Ok it’s going to be awfully boring, but at least we get the post-competition drink in the pub.” He reminded him.

“I suppose so.” Ben said, playing with his fingers like a child. Brian just smiled and sat watching him, taking in everything from his messed up hair to his still half asleep expression. Ben looked up as he realised he was being watched.

“What?” he asked curiously.

“You look adorable.” Brian said as he leant down to kiss him.

“So do you, all post shower and only wearing a towel.” Ben smiled as they broke away, pulling the smaller man on top of him and covering them with the duvet again. Brian linked his fingers with one of Ben’s hands and twisted his other around his neck. He leant down slowly and brushed their lips tenderly together. He parted his mouth a little and kissed Ben a little more insistently, slipping his tongue past his lips. Ben’s free hand moved across Brian’s back, kneading his shoulder blades and pulling them closer so their chests were pressed firmly together. Brian ground his hips against Ben as their kisses became more needy, and he eventually broke away gasping for air.

“Why Mr Molko, anyone would think you were trying to turn me on.” Ben said breathlessly.

“Mmm that’s the idea..” Brian mumbled, winking at him and moving down to place kisses on his neck.

They rolled out of bed half an hour later, both satisfied and smiling. Brian proceeded to shove Ben into the shower whilst trying to ignore his protests.
“But..”
“Go!”
“I want to keep your scent on me..”
“Nice try, now go.”
“But..”
“You’re sweaty and covered in goodness knows what, do you really want to face Marguerite in that state? Now go shower!”
“Ok..”
Brian hummed to himself as he picked out some clothes for the coming day from Ben’s wardrobe. He eventually settled for some ever-useful jeans and a plain black sleeveless top. He was just applying his eyeliner in the mirror when he felt someone staring at him. Brian turned around to see Ben smiling at him, clad only in a pair of jeans.
“How do you get it so perfect?” he asked curiously.
“Practice.” Brian winked at him, carefully tidying his make-up away.
“How long have you been.. er..” Ben started, stepping towards Brian.
“Wearing make-up?” Brian finished for him, continuing upon the nod of his head. “Since, well, since I moved to London really. I mean I had tried it when I was in my drama club in Luxembourg but when I moved I kind of wanted to re-invent myself, you know? Plus I figured I looked good in it.”
Ben smiled as he stepped forward, placing his hands on Brian’s sides.
“Mmm yes you do..” he said as he leant down to place a kiss on his lips. “Could we.. try some on me?”
Brian blinked at him for a moment as they drew back.
“You want me to put some make-up on you?” he asked carefully as though he was suspecting a trick.
“Well yeah I’ve always been curious. Unless you think I’d look crap in it..” Ben replied, looking away as he bit his lip. Brian’s face broke out into a large grin as he grabbed Ben’s shoulders and led him to the bed.
“Not at all! I think you’ll look great!” he said as he rummaged around in his make-up bag. “What should I do?”
“Uhm I don’t know. Nothing over the top you know. Just subtle.” Ben replied, looking quite nervous at the prospect of being at Brian’s mercy.
“Subtle, ok.” Brian said, his tongue between his teeth in concentration. “Now close your eyes and don’t fidget.”

After about ten minutes of poking and prodding Brian stepped back and announced he was finished. Ben hesitantly got to his feet and went to inspect his face in the mirror. He was actually surprised at what he discovered and continued to carefully study his reflection. His eyes had been thinly lined with dark eyeliner, and there were an assortment of greys creating slight shadows on the top of his eyelids. It accentuated his eyes perfectly, but not so much as to make him look ridiculous or over the top.
“Is it ok?” Brian asked hesitantly as he turned back.
“It looks great! How the hell do you do it? I was imagining ending up looking like a drag queen.” Ben replied, laughing a little.
“What do you take me for?” Brian asked as he broke into a smile. “I think you look gorgeous anyway. I’m not going to be able to resist you today with your bowls..” he finished with a cheeky smirk.
“Oh shit, speaking of bowls we had better get a move on.” Ben exclaimed as he realised the time and frantically started trying to find a shirt. Brian smiled amusedly as he watched his boyfriend hopping around the bedroom waving socks in the air and felt glad that he was ready first for once.

They arrived at the guesthouse slightly late with an exasperated Ben who had spent ten minutes trying to find his house keys only to realise they were in his pocket. Marguerite and Claude were already waiting outside on the pavement looking rather impatient and accompanied by an old man with an extremely curious moustache.
“There you are.” Marguerite sighed, waving her hands to get everyone moving. “Ben, Brian, this is Jacques. He’s an old friend of Claude’s and will be on our team. Seeing as Clémantine pulled out due to an injury.” She rolled her eyes at the last statement. Ben and Brian nodded their welcomes and they all set off down the road to the village square.
“I didn’t even know Clém was in the team.” Brian said quietly to Ben once they had been walking for a few minutes.
“Me either, she certainly kept that quiet. And injury my arse. I bet she’s sitting at home relaxing and laughing at the thought of us going through torture.” Ben replied. Brian sniggered as he took Ben’s hand.
“Oh come on. I’m sure we can find ways to keep ourselves entertained. Jacques looks like a real interesting one.” He said, causing the pair to burst out into laughter. Marguerite, Claude and Jacques turned round to see what the fuss was, and with a stern look from Marguerite the pair tried to calm themselves down.

They eventually came to the village square, which had been set up with chairs, sandpits and team areas. Ben let out a low groan as they realised that most of the team members were double their age. Brian gave his hand a re-assuring squeeze and they followed their team to the registration table.
“Team name please?” a rather boring lady with glasses on the end of her nose asked them. Marguerite turned back towards them.
“Oh I forgot about that. We need a team name, idea’s anyone?” she asked looking slightly flustered.
“The flying cocks” Brian offered helpfully with a cheeky grin as Ben clamped a hand over his mouth. Jacques shot them a stern look and continued to suggest names. They eventually settled on “Les Martinets” to the disappointment of Brian, who still thought his idea was the best.

There were 10 minutes to go until the competition started and Marguerite, Claude and Jacques were warming up with a disturbing amount of vigour. Ben and Brian were sat down watching, although Brian was fidgeting like an excited child.

“So who are we playing first?” He asked as he turned his attention from their ancient team mates.

“Les renards rapides” Ben replied instantly without a hint of interest in his voice.

“Oh so that would make them the team opposite us with bright orange, fox emblazoned team strips on?” Brian asked curiously, indicating to the team opposite. Ben followed his gaze and was almost blinded by the amount of fluorescent orange radiating from the other team’s area. He stared in shock for a few seconds, blinking and not really believing his eyes.

“Wow.. Er.. Orange. They really take the game seriously..” he said eventually, still shaking his head. They both gazed at the opposition for a few more seconds before bursting out into uncontrollable giggles. Jacques paused from his leg stretches to glare at them like a scolding parent and they quickly tried to hush their laughter into hacking coughs. They were saved the trouble of having to act innocently though as the competition umpire announced that the first round was about to start.

"Attention everyone. Can Les Martinets and Les Renardes Rapides please make their way to the court? The competition is about to begin." he said loudly. Ben grudgingly got to his feet and followed his enthusiastic team to the sand-covered court amidst a spattering of applause from the meagre crowd. The other team went first and threw the jack to the back of the square. Brian stared in astonishment at the distance his own brass balls were meant to travel.

"How the hell am I meant to get it that far?" He complained to Ben.

"Just throw it and hope for the best?" Ben suggested with a shrug of his shoulders. Brian frowned as he watched the other team throw their first ball, and a loud cheer went around as it landed a few centimetres away from the jack. He sighed with frustration as he realised his own team mates were waiting expectantly for his turn and he got to his feet and made his way to the front of the sandpit.

Brian stood, arms poised holding his brass ball and feeling the eyes of all the crowd boring into him. He tensed his muscles as he swung his arm back and threw the ball as hard as he could. It sailed high above the sandpit before landing with a pitiful thud miles away from the jack. He could hear the silence as the dust settled and his crap shot sunk in, and he turned dejectedly back to his team. Ben gave him an encouraging smile and beckoned him onto his lap. Brian watched as Marguerite stepped up for her turn before climbing onto Ben's knees, settling his legs either side of his lover’s thighs.

"I was crap.." Brian said, gesturing hopelessly towards the sandpit.

"Yeh you were." Ben admitted and watched as his boyfriends face broke into a small smile.

"You're not meant to tell me that! You're meant to encourage me!" Brian said, trying to act serious but allowing a giggle to slip through his words.

"Well I have other ways of encouraging you.." Ben replied slyly and laughed at Brian's curious expression.

"Oh?" Brian asked, raising his eyebrow.

"Show you in a second." Ben said as he lifted Brian up and got to his feet. "It's my turn."

Brian stood and stared as Ben effortlessly strode up to the sandpit and threw a ball right beside the jack, knocking the opponents ball out of the way.

"How the fuck?" he asked dumbfoundedly when Ben returned amidst cheers from the rest of their team.

"I've had to play a lot.." Ben shrugged as he resumed his position sitting down, easily pulling the smaller man back onto his lap. "Now I do believe I was going to encourage you?" he whispered into Brian's ear.

"Mmm yes.." Brian replied, shivering slightly as a delicate hand wound its way round the back of his neck. Ben drew their faces closer together, slipping his tongue out to trace lightly over Brian's soft pink lips. Brian opened his mouth slightly in anticipation, whimpering as Ben pulled back teasingly. Ben smiled before pushing his mouth hungrily against Brian's with a passion and fervor the other had never felt before. Their lips opened eagerly to allow their tongues to intertwine, pulling them closer together. Ben allowed his other hand to trace the small bumps along Brian's spine as their kissing became more intense. He sucked on his bottom lip, allowing his teeth to scrape against the eager flesh and feeling Brian subconsciously grind his hips lightly. They pulled away as they became aware of a polite coughing from behind them. Claude reached out to tap Brian on his shoulder.

"Erm.. it's er.. your turn." He offered as Brian climbed unsteadily from his lovers lap. He walked in a daze towards the sandpit before picking a brass ball up from the floor. He attempted to focus on the jack which was proving quite difficult as most of the blood from his brain seemed to have collected somewhere else in his body. He raised his arm shakily and threw the ball, watching in surprise as it flew through the air and landed neatly next to Ben's.

"Talk about inspiration.." He muttered to himself as he turned back to smile at his teammates.

Somehow Les Martinets managed to win their first game, despite Brian's mostly crap throws. They were now waiting around for the rest of the first round games to be over. Brian had started off watching the other teams with interest, thinking he could maybe learn some of their tactics and game plans. He had long since given up on this though as he had discovered it to be incredibly boring. He had taken to lounging about on Ben's lap, commenting languidly on some shit throws and other random occurrences.

"Why did we agree to this?" he said eventually after half an hour of doing nothing. Ben grinned at him and poked him in the side.

"I told you it would be boring." he said triumphantly.

"At least I haven't contemplated drowning myself in the sandpit." Brian retaliated, poking his tongue out.

"Ahh you will.." Ben replied knowingly.

"But then you wouldn't get any tonight.." Brian said teasingly. Ben thought about this comment for a moment before wrapping his arms tightly around Brian's waist.

"Ok you, stay away from the sandpit!" he joked, pulling Brian closer to his chest.

"Yes daddy." Brian replied innocently. Ben felt his cock twitch at Brian's words and squirmed uncomfortably underneath him. Brian looked at him in curiosity.

"What’s wrong?" he asked, before noticing Ben's flushed face and expression. "Oh.. OH!" He turned his body round so he was facing the other.

“You liked that didn’t you?” he cooed teasingly. Ben shifted under his weight and tried to look anywhere else than at Brian, but it didn’t seem to work. Brian somehow made his soft green eyes appear even larger and opened his mouth slightly, his index finger toying on his bottom lip.

“I’ll do anything you want..” he whispered coyly, smirking at the effect it seemed to have on his partner as Ben gulped nervously.

“Brian, please.. not here..” he pleaded quietly.

“Oh don’t worry dear, I wouldn’t want to put you off your bowls.” Brian winked at him, “But really, what an odd place to discover your boyfriends kink!”

Ben simply nodded, desperately trying to keep his concentration from waning.

“So..what do we win for coming first?” Brian asked, interrupting Ben’s thoughts.

“Erm.. 12 bottles of cum..wine.” Ben blushed furiously as he realised his mistake, causing a dirty grin from Brian.

“Mmm, sounds worth winning.” He smiled.

“Mind you, even if we lost we’d still probably go for a post-celebratory piss up.” Ben remembered as he regained his composure.

“But if we lost what would we be celebrating?” Brian asked in a confused manner.

“Your crap throws.” Ben retaliated with a wicked smirk. Brian set about punishing him in the form of tickling and poking until they were called for their next game.

Finally after 5 hours of extreme boredom and bowls the competition was over. Predictably Les Martinets didn’t win but came third instead, earning them a fetching Blue rosette to share between the team. Brian stared at it disdainfully as the winning team went up to collect their prize.

“They could have at least given us one bottle for coming third..” he commented.

“Oh well, we’re going to the pub in a minute anyway.” Ben tried to cheer him up.

They watched in silence as a group of 50 year olds named “Bourré Brouhaha” gleefully collected their case of wine and made a long-winded speech.

“Seriously how did they win over us?” Brian said as he pointed at the old team on the stage.

“They’re better than us?” Ben offered with a shrug of his shoulders.

“No, they must be on steroids! Look at the women on the left, she’s got a moustache!” Brian giggled helplessly, Ben soon joining him as he followed Brian’s gaze to the woman in question.

Eventually the speech was over and “Les Martinets” fled from the competition area to avoid nasty stares from the organisers for not helping to pack everything away. They strolled down the road, the other three in quite high spirits for coming in the top three. Ben and Brian stayed behind a little bit thinking up ways they could have spent their day better.

They soon arrived at the local pub and took a large table near the entrance. Jacques went off to the bar to buy the first round while the other four got settled, and Brian decided that he was an alright bloke after all.

Brian found himself a bit uncomfortable sitting in the pub with Marguerite, Claude and Jacques. He wasn’t quite sure how to act as he had spent most of his time around younger, like-minded people. He sat quietly, commenting on a few topics and trying to refrain from getting himself drunk so he wouldn’t do anything stupid. Ben seemed a little more relaxed but he was noticeably trying to keep his distance from Brian as he didn’t know how the others would react to them being all over each other in such close proximity.

Brian took the opportunity of a long silence to go to the bar for another round of drinks. He was surprised when Marguerite got to her feet to follow him.

“Are you and Ben ok? You seem a little quiet.” She asked in a soft voice.

“Uhm.. we’re fine..” Brian tried to lie rather unconvincingly.

“Don’t be stupid. You’ve both been on tenterhooks ever since we got in here. You throw us nervous glances if you so much as breathe in each other’s direction.” Marguerite said, “Don’t worry. I know you’re together, Claude knows you’re together, and Jacques certainly won’t care.” She gave Brian a re-assuring smile.

“Thanks. We just felt a bit.. uncomfortable, you know?” Brian replied.

“Yes I understand. Now how about we ease your tensions with some shots?” Marguerite grinned wickedly as she turned to place an order with the barman. Brian just stared at her in disbelief.

Half an hour later and Brian found himself for some odd reason under the table, with a maniacal giggling in his ear. Upon returning back from the bar with a bottle of strong liquor and some shot glasses, the idea of a drinking game had been suggested immediately. Pretty soon the group were in various states of inebriation and it had the desired effect of loosening everyone up. Brian looked at the legs around him and tried to remember how he got under the table, but it seemed too difficult a task for his alcohol drenched mind so instead he set about the onerous job of getting back to his chair. He crawled on his hands and knees across the floor and clawed at the seat, pulling himself up, though not before he knocked the back of his head on the table edge. He saw Ben’s amused face smiling at him as he managed to position himself suitably on his chair.

“Uhm.. why was I on the floor?” he asked with a degree of difficulty.

“You were on the floor?” Ben asked, his expression quickly switching to confused.

“Never mind.” Brian replied, waving his hand to dispose of the thought. “So, your place or mine tonight?”

“Yours. It’s closer. Plus I think we’ll be needing to give them some help home.” Ben said as he indicated towards Marguerite and Jacques, who was currently trying to explain that he couldn’t carry hedgehogs in his moustache. Brian couldn’t help but smile as he agreed; the other three certainly seemed a lot more drunk than him. Not that he was drunk. Just slightly disorientated and confused.

Brian was amusing himself playing with Ben’s fingers when he noticed someone was shouting his name. He looked up to see Clémantine swiftly making her way through the mass of chairs and tables. She eventually found herself at their table and collapsed in the chair next to Brian.

“Clémantine! What brings you here?” he smiled jovially at her.

“I wanted to see how you did in the competition, plus the obligatory drink.” She replied as she smiled back.

“Ahh the competition was boring as fuck. But we came third. Didn’t we Ben?” Brian said as he prodded his partner in the side.

“Third.. yeh.” Ben commented as he tried to follow the conversation. “Why weren’t you in the competition?” he said accusingly as he finally noticed Clémantine’s presence.

“I couldn’t bear to take away the fun from you two.” She laughed as she stole a mouthful of his drink.

“Oh well thank you very much. We were bored out of our minds and you were probably laughing your arse off at home.” Ben complained, trying to work out where his drink had gone.

“Yeh that sounds about right.” Clémantine replied with a grin. Ben turned back to the other three as Marguerite asked him a question, and Clémantine took the opportunity to speak to Brian.

“I take it you haven’t told him yet.” She asked quietly.

“No..” Brian said, avoiding her gaze. “I haven’t had a chance today. But I’m telling him tonight, when he’s a bit more sober back at the guesthouse.”

“Ok, but you have to remember to ring me afterwards. I need to know what he says.” Clémantine reminded him. Brian nodded and was just about to reply when the foreboding figure of Nicolas came striding towards them.

“Oh piss off. We’re trying to have a nice night, we don’t need you ruining it.” Brian sighed as Nicolas threw a newspaper onto the table.

“Oh don’t worry.” He sneered, “I won’t be here for long. Just want to inform you of your latest media hype, Molko.”

Brian’s face turned white as he pulled the paper towards him and scanned the page it was open on.

PLACEBO TO SPLIT?

Record company bosses were left in the dark last week as renowned Placebo front man Brian Molko fled the recording studio. His band mates insist it is just a temporary holiday but rumours are growing in his lengthy absence. Could this spell the end of the androgynous Britpop threesome?

“Did your tiring band life get too much for you?” Nicolas jested, “So you decided to come and ruin our village instead?”

“Brian? What’s going on?” Ben asked quietly, noticing the paper and Brian’s blank stare. He turned to read the article, a hush falling over the table for a moment.

“Band?” he asked as he finished, a confused look gracing his features. “But you’re a writer?”

Nicolas’ satisfied smirk grew even wider.

“A writer?!” he exclaimed incredulously. “So lover boy’s been lying to everyone! No dear, I think you’ll find Brian Molko is the lead singer of a rock band, well known for fucking as many people as they can.”

Ben looked hopelessly from Nicolas’ jeering figure to Brian, hoping what he had just heard wasn’t the truth.

“Brian.. tell me this isn’t true..” he stammered quietly, well aware that everyone on the table had hushed. Brian’s guilty silence said it all, and Ben quickly got to his feet and fled from the pub. Nicolas stayed a moment longer to inspect the damage caused before leaving with a contented grin.

Brian sat still for a moment in shock, sobriety quickly invading his body. As the past few minutes’ events finally sank in he got quickly to his feet with the intention of following Ben out of the door. He was stopped however by a resounding slap across the face.

Clémantine was facing him looking every inch the angry Frenchwoman, hand poised as if ready to deal another blow.

“What the fuck do you think you are playing at?” she yelled, her usually calm face contorted with anger.

“Clém, please.. I have to go and explain to Ben..” Brian stammered, truly overwhelmed by his friend.

“Too right you have the fucking explain. You’ve been lying to us all.” She continued as she gestured wildly to the shocked crowd seated at the table.

“And I will explain, but please I have to see Ben.” Brian tried to reason with her.

“Well I hope he finishes with you, after you told him you loved him and everything. And that’s why you’re going home, you’ve got priorities elsewhere..” Clémantine ranted, as Brian made a wild dash past her arms and out of the pub door. He started to run as soon as he got onto the street, instinctively heading in the direction of Ben’s home.

Brian soon arrived at the familiar front gate, panting and sweating from the effort of running. He pushed it open impatiently and jogged up the path, almost tripping over the huddled figure of his boyfriend on the way. He looked down to find Ben curled up in a tight ball about half a metre from his doorstep, his shoulders shaking uncontrollably.

“Ben.. why..” Brian started to ask quietly.

“Because I couldn’t fucking get the door open.” Ben spat as he sensed his question, vaguely motioning to his keys on the floor, which had been thrown down in a rage.

“Ben I.. I need to explain.” Brian started pathetically, squatting down to the same level.

“Explain?” Ben cried loudly, raising his head to look Brian in the eye, “What is there to explain?! You’ve been lying to me. You’ve been lying to everyone.”

“I know I have and I’m sorry.” Brian admitted.

“Sorry is not use now.” Ben replied scathingly as he looked down again.

“I couldn’t help myself. I just didn’t want you to know the truth.” Brian whispered.

“And what is the truth? How can I be sure that everything you’ve told me isn’t a lie?” Ben argued bitterly, fresh tears dampening his cheeks.

“I love you. That’s not a lie.” Brian said, turning to look at him sincerely. Ben stayed silent as he held his gaze for a moment.

“Can we at least go inside? I don’t want to sit in the street and argue.” Brian asked finally, getting to his feet as he received no reply from Ben. He held out his arm to the man on the floor.

“Let me help you inside.” He offered quietly.

“It’s the least you can do..” Ben said as he accepted his arm and allowed himself to be pulled to his feet. Brian wrapped an arm supportively around his waist and helped his trembling lover inside the front door. He led him over to a chair at the back of the kitchen and then leant back on the work surfaces, pulling out a cigarette.

“So Brian. What is the truth?” Ben said coldly.

“I’m not a writer. Well I do write, but songs. I’m the lead singer and guitarist in a rock band called Placebo.” Brian explained softly.

“And Stef and Steve are your band mates I assume?” Ben asked without a hint of emotion in his voice. Brian nodded in response.

“Why did you lie to me?” Ben said, allowing a slight desperation to show. Brian looked into his eyes and saw raw pain and hurt, and it made him feel like shit.

“People have automatically created a media image for me. A gender-fucking rock bitch who doesn’t care what or who he does. When I tell people what I do they immediately assume I’m this person, and I didn’t want you to think the same.” Brian confessed.

“And are you a gender-fucking rock bitch who doesn’t care?” Ben asked as he avoided his gaze.

“You tell me.” Brian replied quickly. “I’ve just been myself around you. Just Brian.”

“When were you planning on telling me?” Ben questioned, his voice quivering slightly.

“Tonight.” Brian replied truthfully, causing a raised eyebrow from Ben. “I was meant to tell you last night, but all that stuff happened with Clémantine.”

“But if you are a rock star, you can have anyone you want. Why me?” Ben asked. Brian shifted a bit closer to him as he stubbed out his cigarette in a nearby ashtray.

“Because I fell in love with you. Because you are the sweetest, kindest person I have ever met in a long time. Because you loved me for who I am.” Brian said as he moved towards him.

“Didn’t give me much choice on the last one..” Ben said sarcastically, though his heart just wanted to give in and wrap his arms around Brian.

“Why did you come to Laitue Bécote?” he asked, as his questions became less accusing.

“What I told you before. I had a bad writers block and I needed some time off to get rid of it.” Brian replied.

“So your band have been in the studio then?” Ben asked, his curiosity growing.

“Yes we just started recording a new album.” Brian replied dutifully.

“But that would mean.. they would want you back in the recording studio soon..” Ben said slowly, as if to clarify it with himself.

“Well yes..” Brian said quietly, wishing he could have revealed the information at a more suitable time.

“How soon?” Ben asked impatiently. Brian just looked at the floor.

“HOW SOON BRIAN?” Ben yelled, getting to his feet and leaning over Brian with his threatening stature, tears filling his red eyes again.

“Thursday.” Brian finally admitted weakly.

Ben was silent. He stared at Brian and moved back slightly. When he finally spoke it was slowly and quietly.

“You are leaving.. on Thursday?” he asked, his voice trembling. Brian nodded his head in response, too ashamed to speak. He clenched his fists and waited for the torrent of accusations to start, but it didn't.

“And were you ever going to mention that to me?” Ben asked calmly which surprised himself.

“Tonight. I was going to tell you everything tonight.” Brian replied desperately, stepping towards Ben. Ben moved back as if disgusted.

“How do you want me to react Brian? Do you want me to nod calmly and say that everything is ok? Because I don't feel ok.” he said as his voice started to waver.

“Ben, I was-” Brian started to protest, but Ben cut him off.

“No Brian. How can you explain your way out of this one? Do you have an excuse for using me?” Ben continued. He broke down at the last sentence, choking back a sob and letting the tears roll freely down his face again.

“You fucking used me.” He yelled as he turned and ran through the back door into the cool night air. Brian ran after him, clutching at his arm desperately.

“Please Ben, I-” he tried to plead.

“DON'T TOUCH ME!” Ben screamed as he shook away Brian's grip. “Am I just one of your groupies? A quick fuck and a bit of fun while you're on holiday? Then you can forget about me when you fly home again?”

“Ben I would never think that of you. I love you, you have to believe me.” Brian said softly as he held Ben's gaze.

“Oh yeh. You love me so much you're flying back to a different country in three days.” Ben scoffed through his sniffing, still glaring at the smaller man.

“No Ben.. I .. oh I want you to come with me.” Brian replied, watching his face closely for a reaction.

“What?” Ben asked as a shocked expression crept over his face.

“You heard me. I want you to come back to London with me.” Brian repeated with a little less confidence. He felt his stomach churn as his lover stood in a dumbfounded silence and prayed that he hadn't made the wrong decision. Ben felt his legs buckle beneath him and he staggered backwards before collapsing on a nearby chair. Brian stayed where he was, the silence making him feel a little uneasy. After what seemed like an eternity Ben spoke.

“You.. you want me to live with you?” he asked quietly, his face drained of colour.

“Well yes. That is if you want to..” Brian confirmed quietly, now dreading that Ben would reject him. Ben stared at him silently, watching his expression and trying to judge if he meant what he said. The look he received back was so sincere and heartfelt that he felt positive Brian wanted it. He quickly ran through it in his head and came to a conclusion. Brian was now convinced he had made a mistake and was just about to turn on his heel and run when the slightest movement from Ben stopped him. His heart froze as he watched carefully in the darkness and barely made out Ben's face tilting into a nod. A lump rose uncomfortably in his throat and he choked on his words as he spoke.

“You.. want to?” he asked, trying to confirm it in the confusion of everything. Slowly, but more confidently Ben nodded again. Brian waited a second before running across the damp grass and throwing himself onto Ben. He flung his arms around his neck and sobbed freely into his shoulder, smiling as he felt Ben's hesitant hands gripping him tightly around his waist.

“I love you.” Brian said, his voice muffled through Ben's shirt.

“I love you too.” Ben replied as he gently lifted Brian's head up. They laughed softly despite themselves at the state they were in. Both had smeared makeup running down their cheeks as a result of the tears and their eyes were sore and red.

“So, when are we going home then?” Ben asked. Brian screwed his eyes up in concentration as he tried to remember.

“Uhm.. Wednesday afternoon. Because they want me in the studio on Thursday morning.” he said after a while and Ben nodded in reply.

“So I have a lot to do tomorrow then. Like go and quit that shitty job for starters.” he smiled. “Oh and go talk to.. Clémantine.. what am I going to do about her?” Ben frowned.

“Don't worry. I've spoken to her about it already. I'm gonna do everything it takes to get her to London as often as possible.” Brian reassured him.

“Oh so you've been plotting against me now?” Ben smirked.

“Something like that..” Brian smiled.

Ben held Brian closer to his chest and they stayed in a comfortable silent embrace for a while. Eventually he coughed to clear his throat and spoke.

“Um, it’s getting a bit cold. Do you want to go inside?” he asked quietly. Brian contemplated this for a moment before lifting his head to look up at him.

“No, I’d rather stay under the stars tonight.” He replied. Ben smiled and nodded.

“A true romantic at heart.” Ben mused, “I’ll just go and get a blanket.”

Brian climbed off his lap and watched patiently whilst Ben got up and retrieved a tartan blanket from inside the kitchen. Ben quickly returned and wrapped himself in the blue and green chequered material, settling himself back on the large garden chair. He motioned for Brian to resume his previous position and pulled the warm blanket around both their bodies. Brian leant back against Ben’s chest and comforted himself with the steady rise and fall of his lover’s breathing. He smiled as Ben’s arms found their rightful place around his waist and soon fell into a contented sleep.
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