Title: Now and Forever
Fandom: RPF [Merlin]
Pairing: Bradley James/Angel Coulby
Word Count: 2,230
Disclaimer: Events are fictional...This didn’t happen.
Summary: Bradley prepares for "The Once and Future Queen.”Characters do not belong to me. References to events and comments in fan fic by Royal4Ever and Lady Paper Clip.
Its early morning in Pierrefonds, and Colin, Angel, Bradley and Richard are gathered around a table for the first reading of the “Once and Future Queen” script.
A ray of sunlight streams in through the leadlight window, and the morning breeze is fresh with the scent of lavender. Angel closes her eyes, and breathes it all in, but the perfect calm is broken by aloud exclamation from Bradley.
“Yay, they do it and before the third episode, Pay up Colin!”
“What’s he on about?” says Angel, coming abruptly down from the astral plane, and looking at Colin for enlightenment.
“Don’t ask” advises Colin, shaking his head,” just run for cover”
“I told you they get married” warbles Bradley, looking pleased as punch “ so, obviously they had to kiss somewhere along the line, I bet Colin it would happen before the third episode, but the Magical one believed it would be series three. HA……” he said triumphantly, as he pocketed the notes Colin handed over, then pouted at Angel’s horrified face.
“What? Don’t you want to kiss me? You know you do, AAAngel” Bradley walked towards her, ready to embrace her, best kissy face on.
Colin and Richard laughed sympathetically, as Angel rolled her eyes, and ducked deftly under Bradley’s outstretched arms, to make her way to the cappuccino machine, calling back over her shoulder “ Don’t confuse fiction with reality Bradley, Guinevere may be hanging out to kiss Arthur, but I’m not that much into you!”
Angel sat cross legged on her bed, reading the script for “The once and future queen”, loving it really, but worried about how to handle Bradley. This second season he really had taken the Arthur and Gwen get married gag to a whole new level, telling the gendarme in Paris “My wife and I are lost”, and at the local grocery (and in excruciating French) my wife and I really liked those strawberries, . And now this kissing episode…Angel worried about the effect this would have on his repertoire of awesome things that I can do to bug Angel/the love of my life/my wife!
Colin’s advise was clearly justified. At rehearsals and takes, the whole week, Bradley waylaid Angel with soulful looks, seeking affirmation for his superlative acting skills from Colin and Katie.“What do you think guys, do you think this will do?” “Don’t encourage him” pleaded Angel, to no avail. Katie and Colin looked on his efforts with indulgent amusement. Katie voted for the “not sure if he is going to barf, or faint with adoration look” whereas Colin voted for “the confused, and is that really my mouth saying those things” version. Encouraged, Bradley took to haunting her with better and improved versions of the Arthur loves Guinevere look, citing nervousness about the upcoming romantic scenes, “Because romance in not really my forte you know!”
“Bradley, honestly you will be fine”, reassured Angel, “for goodness sake you’ve probably snogged hundreds of girls by now… just do what you do best, widen those baby blues and pout…you’ll be fine…”
“No I haven’t Angel, I’ll have you know I don’t go around snogging people indiscriminately…unlike some hussies around here”, glowering at her darkly.
“Honestly Bradley, Merlin and Lancelot are fictional characters; you cannot go around calling me a hussy because Guinevere kissed them both”!
“Fine” he said, “but that does put the pressure on Arthur to perform and I think that you of all people should want this to work out great on the screen. After all this is Guinevere’s big moment…Please Angel, could we just check out a couple of alternatives?”
And so it continued. Bradley surprised her with soulful looks around corners, across the cast cafeteria table, post shoots pre shoots, and even at hide ‘n seek games around the castle at midnight. Angel tried multiple tactics to make him give it up." Honestly Bradley, no one asks me out cos you go around looking at me in that goofy way". Or "Bradley, that gorgeous girl from wardrobe asked me if you were available, shall I set you guys up"? But Bradley was not to be diverted from his chosen path
“God Colin can’t you do something to make him behave?” pleaded Angel as they walked to the shoot one morning. Colin smirked and pointed to the back of his new T-shirt. “There is no cure for Bradley James” it proclaimed in large rainbow colours. Colin put out his hand for a low five, and they were still laughing as they entered the studio together. “Now there’s a likely looking couple” commented Richard to Bradley, who looked up from his script, and a hint of a shadow darkened his eyes as he looked at their entwined hands. Then he quirked an eyebrow at Colin’s Tshirt asking “Really was that necessary Colin”, with a hurt look on his face, before saying accusingly to Angel “How could you think that was even funny?”. Angel thought he was kidding, but later doubted her assessment because he was incredibly focused and subdued the rest of the day.
And that set the tone for the rest of the week. Bradley was punctual, restrained, polite, considerate, all the things Bradley normally wasn’t. The production staff were ecstatic, but Angel felt guilty. “I think we hurt his feelings” she worried to Colin “he hasn’t even brought out his video camera for god’s sake, should we apologize?”
“Don’t be daft” said Colin callously, “his acting has been superlative, I say we let him suffer for his art.”
“What’s up with Bradley”, asked Richard that evening “the jousting lads said he’s been hanging around with them all day going hell for leather at his stunts and generally being morose and Byronic, they’re very confused.”
“Us and them both” said Colin ungrammatically, “I’ll be grateful when he snaps out of it, I can’t stand a morose and somber Bradley for another day, its plain unnatural!”
“Oh well” said Angel, “it’s got to stop tomorrow once we shoot the scene.”
“You tell yourself that Angel if it keeps you happy”, commented Colin, “Me, I think we are in for the long haul!”
The sun streamed in through an open window and Arthur hesitated as he looked at Gwen, a question in his eyes. As if making up his mind, he bent his head to kiss her, pausing just before he touched her lips, as if giving her a chance to draw back, Gwen lifted her face to his kiss, and they lost themselves in the moment, the kiss going on forever. Arthur started to draw back, and Gwen swayed towards him, not breaking the kiss, reluctant to let him go. He steadied her with his hands, a stunned light in his eyes, searching her face for a reaction. She gazed back at him, all her emotions clear on her face. His lips parted to say something; he seemed to collect himself, took a deep breath and whispered “I must go” then turned and left. Gwen let out a shuddering sigh, and closed her eyes, wanting to hold on to the feeling of that moment forever.
“And cut , that was brilliant Angel, whew that will get the fans going…I think we’ll break for lunch, and finish off with close-ups around two.”
Angel took a deep breath grateful for the respite. She had never been so affected by a kiss before, she felt naked and exposed, as if all her emotions were on display for the world to see. When did she go from kissing Arthur to kissing Bradley she wondered? As his lips touched hers? As the kiss went on and she felt his breath stir her hair? As his eyes searched hers for answers? As she reacted to the stunned look in his eyes?
Those had been her emotions on her face, not Gwen’s. Had Bradley known? Was that why he had disappeared? Angel wandered in a daze to her favorite thinking spot on the balcony overlooking the courtyard, looking out over the valley. She leant against the parapet, w rapping her arms around herself as the evening breeze blew her hair across her face. It was dusk, a pensive time, and her heart yearned for something, she wasn’t quite sure what.
And then he was there, quietly wrapping his arms around her and over hers, pulling her back against his body, “Not fair” thought Angel, “I can handle it when he’s arrogant and cheeky and exuberant and boisterous, but what do I do with a warm, gentle, tender Bradley?”
Then he blew her resistance away with an incredibly loving gesture, leaning down to kiss her on her temple.” I thought I’d find you here “he said, “mulling over things,”
And as she turned within the circle of his arms to gaze into his eyes, serious, caring and vulnerable, Angel felt herself surrender to the inevitability of loving Bradley.
“There’s this guy” she said, “he’s really cocky and way too sure of himself, I’m wondering should I bring him down a peg or two before I let him see how I feel or ….”
“It’s me, It’s me, isn’t it?” said Bradley, the old familiar laugh back in his eyes, as he lifted her off her feet and spun her around like a child, euphoric, “fess up now Angel, after all those guys you’ve kissed …You love me best” and then he leant down, his lips hovering over hers, teasingly just out of reach.
Angel reached up and cupped his face in her hands, holding his gaze seriously not bothering to deny anything “Yes,” she said” and that is important because…?
“Because I’m not me if you don’t love me? “ offered Bradley, incredibly awkward, but seeing this was important to her.
“And thats because..” encouraged Angel…”Aw Angel, you know I’m terrible at this stuff”, protested Bradley, kissing her hard and trying to circumvent the issue, but Angel was having none of that. “Bradley” she said “knowing you, this is probably my one and only chance to get you to tell me seriously what I mean to you, I am so not letting you off the hook”
He leaned back and looked seriously into her beautiful face, lips bruised from his kisses, at the love shining in her lovely warm brown eyes, and his lips twisted in a wry self deprecating smile. He threaded his fingers through her hair, tilting her face upward and said in a low voice, “I thought I could kill Colin when you walked in together holding hands, and I realised then, just how much I loved you. I do love you, you know, wholly and unreservedly.”
“You are the sun to my sunflower” he continued, “the music to my song, the candle to my flame, the sauce to my steak,” punctuating each simile with a kiss, clearly determined to make a good job of it now that he had started.
“Bradley” said Angel warningly.
“Well you get the idea”, said Bradley happily, “Love me??”“Now and forever”, said Angel, going up on her toes to capture his lips but he resisted her, leaning back for a moment, wanting a greater concession “And there is no cure for Bradley James?” making himself sound like the chickenpox. Angel looked up at him, bemused by his kisses, happy and warm and content, and surrendered totally and happily , “ And there is no cure for Bradley James” she conceded “but who needs one?”, and with a shout of triumphant laughter, he captured her lips in a long lingering kiss “I love you, Angel mine”.
“My god, that boy is insufferable”, exclaimed Katie that evening, as Bradley and Colin did a victory dance around the ping pong table to a raucous rendition of “We are the Champions”. Colin and Bradley had beaten the girls, five three. “Whatever happened to the morose Bradley that we’ve been inflicted with the last week or so?”
“Now there’s a story “said Colin, sotto voice, looking significantly at Angel.
“Angel ?” questioned Katie eyebrows raised, and then a slow horror struck understanding dawned on her face, as Angel blushed a fiery red. “Oh no”, she said “how could you……we’ve got three seasons to go, I will never survive the egotistical maniac that constitutes a happy Bradley!”
“Really Katie, as BFF, you could be more supportive” complained Bradley plaintively, drawing smothered giggles from Angel and Colin, and a horror stricken “BFF” from Katie.
“Just sharing the love” said Bradley “Don’t want you to feel neglected and alone….thought you should know…”
“Bradley” said Katie sweetly” let’s not change the order of the universe in one day, OK? You love Angel, I love Angel, You hate me, I hate you, See? There is a balance to the world and that’s the way it should stay!”
“Told you” said Bradley with relief to Angel “told you she’d be happy for us, I really am quite sensitive to people’s feelings” and then looked at the three in indignant bewilderment as they collapsed into peals of uncontrolled laughter. “What?” he said “There you go ganging up on me again, I must say Angel, I am disappointed!”
“Don’t be love” she soothed, “it’s just the nervous laughter of mere mortals in front of a GOD!”
“Now I know you ARE laughing at me” he said indignantly, “but I know how to put a stop to that!” And he swept her into his arms and stifled her laughter with an extremely serious kiss.
- Current Mood: contemplative