Fandom: Merlin RPF
Pairing: Bradley James/Colin Morgan
Word count: 30 000+
Summary: AU. Working in the theatre was not what Bradley had pictured himself doing. Cue a little play called "Merlin", and the nine months that changed his life. Playing Arthur Pendragon made sense. That Bradley found a new family, and Colin, in the process was just a bonus.
Seeing the curtains close on their last performance felt a little like relief, but mostly Bradley was reluctant to see it end. He had found a place where he fit in, met some interesting people, and had the chance to do something he never would have considered doing. It had been worth all the long rehearsals, the weird hours, the missed footie practices and matches.
It had been sad to pack up all his belongings that had somehow managed to find their way into his and Colin's dressing room. Katie and Angel had both been teary-eyed as they took their final bow, but the waterworks thankfully didn't start until they all gathered in the empty theatre, listening to Jeremy express how proud he was, and how this wasn't the end since they were all coming back for another run in a few months.
Bradley didn't pay that much attention to his director even though he probably should have; he was too busy watching Colin out of the corner of his eye. The Irishman tried to keep the tears away, but Bradley saw a few slip down his face and it tugged at his heart. He, as had become his custom, wrapped his arm around Colin's shoulders, and brought the smaller man into his side.
"Come on, Cols, it's not like you're not seeing these people again," he said quietly. “First there's the wrap party tonight, and then you'll see me tomorrow. Katie's probably going to call you in a week saying it's been forever, and you know Angel's going to be texting you until you're sick of her."
"Can I see the girls tomorrow instead of you?"
"Funny, Morgan," Bradley retorted without heat. The teasing glint in Colin's eyes and the curl of his lips told Bradley the Irishman didn't exactly mind seeing him soon.
Bradley swore loudly as Katie grinned victoriously and raised her glass. He made a face and shifted his beer bottle to his left hand and proceeded to gulp it down. Richard looked amused at this and Bradley felt the need to explain.
"Apparently I can't drink with my right hand – if they see me drink with my right hand, they can call me out on it and I have to chug it."
"Why 'Buffalo', though?"
Bradley shrugged, waving his empty beer bottle around, trying to decide if he should get another beer straight away or wait until Katie and Angel had had a bit more to drink, thus being less likely to catch him drink with the wrong hand.
"It's an American drinking game, it doesn't need to make sense," Angel shared, joining them. She smirked at Bradley, pointedly raising her glass to drink with her left hand.
"Well then, good luck with that," Richard chuckled.
"He's going to need all the help he can get," Colin grinned, holding out a beer for Bradley.
"What is this, Pick on Bradley Day?"
"Yes," Colin and Angel chorused, clinking their glasses together with laugh.
Bradley muttered under his breath, making a show of taking a sip with his left hand. When Colin's hand came to rest on his shoulder, a light pressure, Bradley grinned and shifted his weight until he could feel Colin's shirt brush against his arm.
Bradley felt pleasantly buzzed after Angel called him out on drinking with the wrong hand yet again and he'd had to down his beer. The floor wasn't quite as steady as it had been two (or had it been four?) drinks ago, but it wasn't anything Bradley wasn't used to.
Bradley smiled as Colin appeared by his side, taking the empty glass from his hand and putting it on the nearest flat surface.
"Yes it's me, Bradley." Colin's tone was amused, Bradley could tell as much even if Colin's features were kind of blurred. Obviously the lighting was terrible. "And you and me are going to get some air, yeah?"
"Yes, that's prob-, probaly, probably a good idea," Bradley agreed, nodding. "Lemme just get another beer. If I'm outside the girls won't see me drink wrong."
"Let's just go outside first."
Bradley nodded his consent as Colin steered him towards the door. When they – well, Bradley – bumped into a member of the cast or crew for the fourth time, he felt Colin wrap an arm around his waist, and Bradley leaned further into Colin's side as they walked, enjoying the fact that Colin was really warm. Because of Colin's lanky frame, people assumed he was cold a lot, especially since he usually wore multiple layers of shirts, but Bradley knew that Colin just liked to wear more layers because it made him feel less thin, not because he was cold. Colin was actually warm a lot.
Pushing the door of the pub the production team had rented for the night, Bradley couldn't help seeking more of Colin's warmth as the cool night air hit him. He let Colin lead him to the right and didn't protest too heavily when the Irishman pushed lightly on Bradley's chest, making him collapse ungracefully on a bench.
"You having fun?" Colin asked after a minute, settling beside Bradley.
"Sure, if only the witches would stop pestering me with their 'Buffalo'-ing. It's disrupting my drinking." Bradley couldn't quite stop the sullen tone of his voice, and he had a feeling his bottom lip might be jut out a little further than usual. He felt better when Colin laughed and shook his head slightly.
"I bet they are."
They were in the outskirts of London, but it felt like a completely different world to Bradley. It was quiet all around them, apart from the music coming from the pub, and the occasional car passing by on the other side of the building.
"You're quiet," Bradley pointed out after a while, poking Colin in the thigh, letting his hand stay there when Colin only turned his head to look at Bradley, unconcerned.
"As opposed to my usual boisterous self."
"You're less quiet with just me."
Colin shrugged and the movement caused Bradley's arm too rub against Colin. He shifted closer and laid his arm on the back of the bench instead. Colin fell into the small space but didn't bother shifting away and Bradley sighed happily.
"Tell me something fun," he demanded.
Colin's shoulder shook a little as he laughed, but he humoured Bradley and started talking. It had something to do with Katie and some bloke, Bradley was pretty sure, but he didn't listen too closely. He let Colin's voice wash over him instead, focusing on the shapes Colin's lips were making.
"-and you're not listening at all, are you?"
"Nope." Bradley figured it was better to be honest about it than try to figure out what Colin had been saying. He flashed Colin a toothy smile.
"That's great then," Colin attempted to sound cross. "I could be telling you an epic story that you just missed out on because you were too busy-"
Bradley mentally sighed happily as Colin's lips yielded under his own. There was an excited tug in his stomach as Colin went along with the kiss, slotting their mouths together. It was warm and soft and all Bradley could think was that he was perfectly fine with staying like this forever.
Eventually, Bradley felt a pressure on his shoulders. It took a moment before he realized it was Colin's hands pushing him away. He took a breath as they broke apart and slumped into the bench. The air was colder now and Bradley wondered if Colin was going to walk away and leave him alone without a jacket.
When Colin had neither moved nor said a word for a while, even though it felt like hours it was probably only a minute or so, Bradley forced his body to sit up properly and look at Colin. Just as he focused on his friend's face, Colin spoke.
"That was not for good luck."
Bradley shook his head, blinking when the world spun a little, grasping Colin's shoulder to steady himself. When he could focus again, Colin's face was serious, his eyes blank. Bradley felt a familiar stab of hurt and he dropped his head. He did not like that face on Colin, it reminded him of when they weren't speaking. Bad, bad memories.
"Don't go blank, Col," Bradley pleaded, wondering if his voice was as desperate aloud as it sounded in his head. Swallowing, he raised his head to face Colin, the slight buzz in his brain lifting. "No," he admitted evenly, shaking his head. The world spun a little, but Bradley ignored that, focusing on Colin's face again. "That wasn't for good luck."
"You're my mate." Colin didn't look impressed and looked away from Bradley.
"You don't kiss Tim."
Shaking his head again, Bradley conceded to that point and tried to get his brain to work a little faster. He wanted to tell Colin everything without sounding like a drunken creep.
"You're my best mate," Bradley started, looking at his hands rather than Colin. "But you're Colin too so it's different." It didn't make sense when he said it out loud, Bradley was sober enough to realize that, but it made sense in his head. Colin was Colin, and Colin was unlike anyone Bradley had ever met. "I like you. I like you."
He'd said it. It probably wasn't particularly eloquent or even coherent, but the words were out there and Bradley couldn't do anything to take them back now.
"That made everything so much clearer."
Bradley couldn't help the giggle that bubbled up in his throat. Colin's sarcastic comment wasn't funny, but Bradley's nerves were fragile and his nervous tick appeared. It seemed to trigger something in Colin, though, as the Irishman looked searchingly at Bradley.
"You mean that?" Bradley ransacked his brain, trying to understand which part of the conversation Colin was referring to.
"The part where you just giggled nervously after kissing me and saying that you like me."
"Oh that." Bradley paused. "Yeah," he nodded. "Of course I do. Wouldn't've said it if I didn't mean it, now would I?"
A slow smile that spread on Colin's face and Bradley couldn't help smiling back. His cheeks were almost hurting from smiling too wide when Colin's hand found his.
As Bradley had predicted, he saw Colin the day after the wrap party. (Although, technically they didn't leave the pub until the next day.) In fact, a sleeping Colin was the first thing Bradley saw when he woke up and when Colin's eyes fluttered open, Bradley was grinning at him.
It took a surprisingly short amount of time to get used to not having anything to do during the days, Bradley realized. He could sleep in for as long as he wanted to, and he wouldn't have to leave his apartment if he didn't want to. Of course, that never happened because Colin tended to be around more often than not and Colin didn't seem to like to be cooped up in Bradley's apartment all day, every day.
Both Angel and Katie called several times every week and Bradley found that he didn't mind, in fact he felt a bit off when they didn't talk. He had gotten so used to seeing them and the rest of the cast and crew every day. There were several times he saw something or read something and felt the urge to tell Andrew from lighting, or Sara from makeup, only to be disappointed he wouldn't see them later on.
Still, he had Colin and Bradley was very okay with that. He was even more okay with it when Colin's lease on his apartment was up and Colin had a bashful look on his face as he confessed he hadn't wanted to extend the lease without talking to Bradley first.
"You're paying half the rent," was what Bradley had to say about it, and it had apparently been the right thing to say because Colin had lit up and his smile made Bradley's heart feel like it was much too big for his chest.
The only adjustment that had Bradley grit his teeth when Colin moved in was the Irishman's unwillingness to watch football on the telly with Bradley. And his ability to make Bradley pay attention to him rather than the match when Bradley did manage to catch a game. As a result, he spent more time watching science documentaries than he did catching up on the latest scores. His footie mates seemed to appreciate that he came to them more often than not, asking what had been going on, but Bradley figured they were more amused by the fact that Colin was changing Bradley habits.
Besides Colin's lack of interest in football, which Bradley was already painfully aware, things weren’t that much different than before. Colin's things fit in Bradley's flat without trouble (well, besides Colin's awful couch, which Bradley promptly refused to bring into his flat) and it wasn't as if they hadn't practically been living together anyway.
It seemed as though as soon as Bradley had gotten used to being free to do what he (or Colin) wished every day, he wasn't. He was sitting on the kitchen counter, watching Colin attempt to cook something, when Colin mentioned that they both had to get better at using their time wisely, and not sit on the couch all day.
"What for?" Bradley wondered, absently reaching out to pick off a loose thread off Colin's t-shirt.
"You do realize we're going back in for rehearsals next week, right?" Colin asked, looking far too amused. Bradley raised an eyebrow.
"Next week? You're pulling my leg, aren't you? It's like a month away!"
"I promise you, Bradley, it's next week," Colin laughed. He caught Bradley's hands, which had stilled on his shoulder and pulled him along to the calendar on the wall Colin had insisted on putting up after he moved in ("So we can both keep up with what we're doing," he'd said), pointing to the date. Sure enough, the square six days away was circled in red and said "Rehearsal" in Colin's chicken scratch.
"But we just got out! Where did the time go?"
Colin had nothing to say in response to that, but Bradley was more than happy to accept Colin's kisses in lieu of an answer. Answers, and knowledge in general, were overrated anyway.
To Bradley, taking the familiar route to the theatre felt a bit like home. Being inside the building felt like seeing an old friend, and meeting everyone again made Bradley feel like he didn't have a heart big enough for his chest. It was a slightly weird feeling, but he couldn't say he didn't like it.
It didn't matter if they were from the old cast or crew coming back from vacation or someone (very few) completely new, everyone were smiling and the atmosphere was as joyful as it had been at the cast party. It was like they picked up after the weekend rather than two months later.
"Oh no, Bradley, what happened to your hair?"
Bradley made a face at the costume designer who'd spoken. Being away for two months meant that some changes were made to a person, and while Michelle from set design shared that she was pregnant (to which all the girls cooed and Bradley couldn't help picturing a little Michelle running around on stage), apparently it was bigger news that Bradley cut his hair.
"I ran in to a very passionate fan last month and she wanted a lock of my hair as a souvenir, so I had to get it cut. It just didn't look right after she'd cut away a piece of it," he improvised, laughing alongside the group.
"It looks fine," Colin declared, coming to stand next to Bradley, handing him an apple.
"Thank you." Bradley smirked, pleased to see Colin's eyes darken a little as he bit into the apple.
Bradley looked around at Angel's question. He hadn't seen the dark-haired girl since he walked in the building. There had been smiles and a wave, but Katie had stayed where she was, close to the doors, and Bradley had been too eager to see everyone to stay and chat.
"She's around," Colin shrugged. Bradley narrowed his eyes.
"You know something."
"Like where our witch is," Bradley said slowly, wondering what Colin was hiding. He knew Colin well enough to know when he wasn't telling the whole truth, and he could see the little twitch in his hand that meant something was up.
"Colin?" Sighing, Colin dropped his head down a little to avoid looking at Angel.
"Now I'm really interested," Bradley announced. He was, too. Colin knew something he wouldn't tell and Katie was missing. The Irish were keeping secrets.
While Jeremy gathered all the crew around him on the stage to discuss the set and the designs and possible changes to the show, Bradley and the rest of the cast were left on their own. The fact that Katie was still nowhere to be found was making Bradley a little paranoid. He had seen her, and Angel wasn't acting concerned more as she was trying to figure out why Colin was making such a big deal out of not sharing what he knew so it couldn't be anything too serious. Or seriously bad anyway.
Eventually, though, Colin's face lightened and he smiled a little, eyes focused on the doors in the back of the theatre. Bradley would have rolled his eyes as Katie entered, but he felt a little stich of relief and couldn't muster up the energy. Instead he braced his arm on Colin's shoulder, using him to lean on.
"There you are, McGrath!" he called out loudly.
"Missed me, James?" Katie called back, teasingly.
"In your dreams!"
"Nightmares, more likely." Bradley laughed.
As Katie made her way to the middle of the theatre where Bradley and the others had gathered, Bradley found himself more interested in the man following her than he was seeing his co-star. When the two were close enough, Katie reached out behind her to bring the man to stand beside her and Bradley had to nudge Colin, grinning.
"Guys, this is Martin," Katie introduced the man, placing a hand on his chest. Her accent dragged more than it had done two months ago and she was smiling widely. Bradley didn't know if he'd seen Katie quite as happy before. He turned to Colin, raising an eyebrow, still smiling.
"Martin." He tried to mimic the Irish twang. Colin merely shook his head, the expression of that he thought Bradley was touched in the head appearing on his face. It had begun showing up much more frequently since the wrap party, but Bradley wasn't letting it bother him.
"Shut up, I do great Irish," he protested.
"No you don't."
"Well was I asking you, Angel?" Bradley mock-snarled as he turned to the dark-haired girl. She merely laughed, shaking her head. "No I wasn't, was I?"
It took a minute or so before the group could properly be introduced to Martin; a light technician who had been lured to come watch "Merlin" by some colleagues. Apparently he had been as fascinated by Katie as he had been by the lighting, or so Bradley assumed since Katie shared that Martin had come to three of their performances last run. It was quite the story, Bradley had to give them that, even if he privately thought that Martin was a bit of a wimp for not daring to even talk to Katie until the after the third viewing.
"So mate," Bradley addressed Martin, arm slung over Colin's shoulders yet again. "Are you into football?" Colin shifted beside him and Bradley squeezed his shoulders. Colin relaxed and slipped his hand into the back pocket of Bradley's jeans. If Bradley smiled a little too wide at Martin, it was clearly not Bradley's fault.
"Arsenal, of course," Martin answered with a smirk.
Bradley couldn't help laughing. He smiled widely at Martin, and held out his free hand so the other man could pound his fist. "I'm just going to dump Colin and you dump the witch and then we'll go catch a match, yeah?" he suggested, grinning when both Colin and Katie protested, Colin smacking his stomach and Katie sticking her tongue out at him. "What? Neither of you are interested in football; I was taking the man to a match! Since when's that a crime?"
"Your intentions were not pure, Bradley James," Katie said haughtily, channeling Morgana.
"They were too!"
"That's enough, children," Angel cut in, amused.
Much like the first time around, Bradley didn't get particularly nervous about going on stage and performing until maybe half an hour before the curtains went up for the premiere. Colin rolled his eyes when Bradley started freaking out, shaking his limbs out. The Irishman found Bradley's hand and squeezed it reassuringly.
"You're going to be great," he said gently. Bradley smiled.
The sincerity in Colin's voice was almost too much. Instead of teasing him about it as he would have done a few months before, though, Bradley leaned in and captured Colin's lips in a kiss.
Colin was the one to break it with a shy look a moment later.
"C'mon." Bradley tugged at Colin's hand and started jumping up and down. Colin laughed quietly but gave in to Bradley's usual pre-show routine and jumped with him.
It could just as well have been a day later rather than three months when Colin nudged Bradley as everyone gathered in the theatre on Jeremy's request. The cast and crew settled into the seats, close together.
"This is both a good and a sad day," Jeremy started seriously. "The good is that we're all together and we have a show to do tonight. But then there's the sad news. Tonight is our last night on this stage, all of us together."
Bradley tried not to be too affected by what the director was saying, but he couldn't help the uncomfortable tightness in his chest. Angel was clutching Katie's hand, Bradley could see as much, and he was pretty sure that Katie's eyes were shiny with tears. If he was a more emotional person, he was positive he would be crying too.
"As much as we would all just love to keep going for as long as we possibly could, it's not really possible. I know everyone's got other things lined up and I would like to take this opportunity to say good luck to each and every single one of you in this room right now. I know you will be amazing in whatever you choose to do from this day and I'm grateful to have worked with you."
"Aw, Jer, you're such a softie!" a voice from the middle of the group called out and the resulting shaky laughter made Bradley smile.
"That's true, that's true," Jeremy conceded. "But regardless," he continued, "this will be our last show and I want everyone to give it their all. You've all been wonderful throughout this run, and the previous one, but I would like to bring the house down tonight." Bradley grinned widely.
"Yeah!" Beside him, Colin shook his head at Bradley's loud exclamation.
"Perfect, great enthusiasm, Bradley, keep it up tonight, yeah?"
Jeremy wrapped his speech up and sent them on their way to prepare, but Bradley stayed in his seat, keeping Colin beside him. As the others filed away, he turned to face Colin. They hadn't properly talked about what would happen once the play ended more than that Colin would stay in the theatre and keep doing what he had always wanted to do. Bradley himself had been approached by a producer who had been interested in possibly making a film with Bradley in one of the leads. What it meant for them, he didn't know.
"So," he said slowly, dragging the word out. "Last show."
"Yeah, last show," Colin agreed.
"Pretty big, yeah."
"Then there's the party afterwards so we'll have some fun." Bradley mentally made a face at himself. It was like he was regressing into an awkward fifteen-year-old. And it was Colin he was talking to, not some random stranger. He didn't have issues talking to Colin.
"What's wrong, Bradley?"
"Well, after tonight and everything, are you going to stay in my flat?" Bradley cringed mentally. That had to be the lamest cop-out ever. "I mean, I know we haven't really talked about later or anything, but I figured maybe you had some plans. You usually have plans but you haven't said anything, so..." he trailed off, more than ever feeling like an awkward fifteen-year-old.
"When you say 'later', you mean in a month or a year, right?"
"Or, you know, a week," Bradley tried to shrug.
"Do you want me to move out?" Colin asked, going straight to the point as usual. Bradley caught the flash of insecurity in Colin's eyes and paused. Did he want to live alone again? No Colin to mess up his football schedule, no Colin to drag him outside when he didn't know he wanted to go out... The answer was a loud, resounding 'no'. Colin was Colin and now that they were together and living together, why would he want to change that?
"No, no I don't." Colin smiled and Bradley smiled back in return.
"Alright then, I'll stay."
"Good, good." Bradley's heart thudded a little harder when Colin's smile softened. "So I'll see you later then?" Colin looked like he wanted to roll his eyes, but he didn't.
Grinning, Bradley patted Colin's thigh before he got up from his seat. "Don't forget, Cols, you're doing the food-run with Rupert in like five," he called over his shoulder as he headed backstage, laughing when Colin's response was to mutter in Irish.
"I'm not playing 'Buffalo' with you," Bradley warned as Katie looked a little too closely at the glass of beer in Bradley's hand as he and Colin joined their friends, slipping into two empty chairs at the table.
"Spoil-sport," Katie muttered, but left it alone when Bradley took a sip.
Looking around, Bradley wondered if he'd ever feel as comfortable with a group of people as he did with the cast and crew of "Merlin". Well, his footie mates too, but he'd grown up with a lot of them, unlike this group. Being back in the pub the production had rented six months before for their first wrap party brought back memories.
Reaching for Colin's hand, Bradley nodded in greeting as Richard and Anthony joined them and the girls at the table. Colin squeezed his hand back and a feeling of complete contentment welled up in him again. He liked feeling like he couldn't possibly be anywhere better, with any better people.
"We'll do a reunion in five year, yeah? This day in five years, we're all coming back to this pub and having a pint. No skipping!" Angel demanded suddenly. Bradley smirked and jostled Colin at his side.
"We're in," he offered for both of them, grinning unapologetically when Richard raised a Gaius-eyebrow and Colin poked his side.
Katie raised her glass in acknowledgement; too busy smiling at Martin who was returning to the table, two pitchers of beer in his hands.
"Here's to the next five years," Angel raised her re-filled glass when no one protested with her request.
"May they suck so 'Merlin' will remain the highlight of our careers," Bradley tacked on, laughing when everyone shot him varying degrees of death-glares. "Fine, fine. May they be fruitful, wonderful and educational, but not overshadowed by the awesomeness of 'Merlin'." Bradley smiled widely when he felt Colin's hand patting his thigh.
"I'll drink to that!"
Bradley turned to Colin and leaned in to kiss him softly. No matter how many times he might have kissed the other man, he was still sort of amazed at how well they fit together. It was almost as if their lips had been designed for one another. Bradley knew that if Colin heard that thought, he would smack Bradley upside the head and say, "Bradley, you're being a teddy bear again," without any sort of real heat in his voice. Secretly Colin loved Bradley's, what Angel called, shmoopy side, and Bradley knew it. He took advantage of that every opportunity he could, just to see Colin's face. It was like you could see Colin's heart thud an extra beat before melting.
Bradley was thankful, though, that the others had passed the stage where they felt the need to acknowledge every time they kissed. He smiled lazily when they broke apart, leaving a hand on the back of Colin's neck despite the awkward angle.
"If you pay more attention to each other than you do us in five year, I will physically hurt you," Katie said, narrowing her eyes at them. Bradley faked an insulted look, but he couldn't help the flicker of awe that passed over his face. It warmed him to hear that their friends believed that he and Colin would be together in five years time. It wasn't that Bradley didn't think he and Colin wasn't meant to last himself, but it was a special feeling hearing it from someone else.
"Like you won't spend all of that evening glued to your boyfriend," Colin snorted.
"Not the same."
Bradley shared an amused look with Tony, who was barely keeping from laughter, before he fixed Katie with a challenging stare. "Oh no? How so?"
"Because," she waved her hands around in Bradley and Colin's direction. "You're like this all the time, it's sickening."
"Whatever, McGrath," Bradley dismissed the brunette, ignoring the others. He looked at Colin and grinned. Tugging Colin just a fraction closer, Bradley lowered his voice so they were in their own personal bubble. "Personally, I hope we never stop being like this." Colin's smile was warm.
"Trust me, we won't." Bradley pressed a quick kiss to Colin's temple.
"Hey everyone!" Bradley shifted his attention to Jeremy who had found a microphone and was standing on a small stage. "Are you having fun?"
Predictably, the pub exploded in cheers and a few whistles. Bradley grinned, raising his glass in lieu of making noise. Katie had no such qualms and whistled loudly again.
"Good to hear, good to hear," Jeremy laughed as the noise died down. "Now, a little bird told me that there are two very special people in this room, whom we all love to death, might I add, that have done a spectacular version of a lovely little song." A loud cheer went up in the pub. "Unfortunately," Jeremy raised his voice over the noise, "only a few people have had the, uh, pleasure to hear this."
Bradley felt like his stomach drop. By Katie's very interested and devious expression, he knew this was not going to be something he was going to like. At all. He shared a quick look with Colin that did nothing to appease his jittery stomach.
"So if you would, please give a round of applause for our very own Colin and Bradley!"
There was no dissuading their friends, Bradley found, as he and Colin were promptly pushed out of their chairs and towards the stage where Jeremy was waiting with two microphones and a bright smile on his face.
"Come on, guys, this is all in good fun, yeah?"
"You're evil," Bradley hissed into the microphone, causing both Colin and Jeremy to laugh.
"Break a leg."
Letting out a deep breath, Bradley made a face as he turned around to face the pub, smiling slightly as the cast and crew laughed. As the music started up, he looked to his left, locking eyes with Colin.
He knew fully well that Colin didn't want to do this any more than he wanted to, but the Irishman grinned encouragingly and subtly reached out to press his hand to Bradley's side. He took comfort in Colin's touch and smiled wider.
It would appear as though his mates, no matter if they were footballers or theatre people, came up with the stupidest ideas. It didn't even matter if they were drunk or not. They enjoyed torturing him, that much as clear.
Colin rolled his eyes as their friends shouted encouraging words and Bradley could only smile in response. Exaggerating a hip-check with Colin, Bradley took another breath as their cue came up.
Then again, some of his mates' stupid ideas could lead to something quite brilliant.