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Merlin RPF, The Terrible Jabberwock

Title: The Terrible Jabberwock
Author: fakinbrilliance (aka wickedmuffin)
Pairing: slight Bradley/Colin
Genre: mostly fluff and humor
Word count: ~5500
Disclaimer: This is 100% fiction, no copyright infringement intended.
Summary: A trip to Japan, a centipede, and Colin doesn't get to wear pants.
Notes: For anyone who hasn't read Lewis Carroll's inventive poem, here's a copy of it. It plays a pretty big role in the story. This was originally a one shot, but I may end up writing more.




"I'm fucking hot," Bradley said in what was, quite possibly, the biggest understatement of the century, and flopped down next to Colin with a groan and the quiet jangle of well oiled chainmail.

"Yeah." Colin agreed absently, not even looking up from his book. Then after a beat, in Merlin's voice: "Is that all the stroking your ego needs, sire, or shall I compliment you on the size of your sword as well?"

Bradley rolled his eyes and heaved a theatrical sigh. "No, Colin. I don't mean hot, as in 'a sexy hunk of man-flesh.' Although clearly I am that too." He tried for a rakish grin. It was ruined by a wince when sweat dripped STRAIGHT INTO HIS EYE, but that didn't really matter as Colin still hadn't removed his nose from the book.

"I meant" He went on, a little louder, "Hot, as in 'I am melting straight through the holes in this chainmail.' I swear, if we don't finish this shoot soon, there won't be any of me left inside it." He scrubbed the sweat off his face with the back of his hand for emphasis, elbowing Colin a few times in the process. Accidentally. Really. "See?" he asked, brandishing his dripping hand in Colin's general direction.

Instead of looking over like a normal person, Colin just hummed something softly under his breath and turned the page.

Bradley arched an eyebrow. Was Colin Morgan actually attempting to ignore him? Clearly the heat had addled the poor boy's brains if he'd already forgotten what happened the last time he'd tried that particular tactic. There was nothing for it. Steeling himself for battle, Bradley wiped his hand off. On Colin's face.

"Aaaaaggk!" Colin windmilled away from him in an extremely satisfying manner. "Bradley, that's disgusting!"

"Vile..." Bradley had to agree. Colin was, after all, quite sweaty too, so there had been less actual wiping off than he'd anticipated, and more just a kind of mixing and he was pretty sure his hand was wetter now than when he'd started. "Really, no, I mean your face is just…uck." He looked sadly at his befouled hand, then glanced back over and was pinned in place by a pair of extremely disgruntled bright blue eyes. He looked away quickly, feeling his cheeks color. "Well, at least you put your book down."

"You are so five years old." Colin groaned, but the humidity seemed to have sapped all desire for revenge from him, and he flopped down on his back into an ungainly pile of limbs and kerchief.

"Yeah, well." Bradley slumped back onto the grass too, staring up at the parched branches of the cedar providing their little patch of shade. "Whose stupid idea was it to come film in Japan in mid-summer anyways?"

"Julian's." said Colin, gesturing vaguely at the leaves above them. "Something about it being cheaper to film here than build a temple in France."

"Bastard." Bradley said without much conviction. "Why the hell is there a Japanese temple in Ancient England anyways? Think of the plot holes."

"I don't remember you complaining when we were planning the trip. You kept going on and on about ninjas and samurai and sushi..."

"Lies!" Bradley moaned, sounding betrayed. "All lies! I haven't seen a single ninja since coming here."

"Well obviously. If you had, they wouldn't be very good ninjas, would they?"

Bradley blinked back up at the cedar branches. Now that was food for thought. Colin might actually be on to something. He contemplated it for a minute before a soft snort of laughter brought his attention back to planet Camelot.

Colin, eyes once again pasted to the pages of his book, looked mildly bemused.

"What are you reading anyways?" Bradley squinted at the cover of the paperback in Colin's hands.

"Through the Looking Glass." Colin shrugged against the grass. "I forgot to bring a book, and it was the only English book they had in the store."

The title sounded vaguely familiar, so Bradley squinted a little harder at the cover. "Lewis Carroll..." The combination of the name and the cover art – a blonde girl staring down at a tiny rabbit – jogged something in his memory. "Is that...Alice in Wonderland?"

"Very good." Colin said, sounding mildly impressed, and for some reason Bradley got the feeling that he'd just been condescended to by a man reading a book written for eight year old girls. "It's the sequel."

"Why are you reading children's books?" Bradley demanded, trying to get a better look at the page Colin was on. "It even has pictures!"

"It's more than just a children's book." Colin said, a little defensively. "It's full of symbolism and layers of meaning. It's deep and complex." He eyed Bradley critically. "Unlike you."

"You are such a girl," Bradley said disdainfully, but scooted closer to read over Colin's shoulder. "You wanker. I thought you said this was in English."

"It is."

Bradley continued to stare blankly at the page. "Brillig? Gimble? Those are not English words."

"Not real ones, no." Colin agreed. "But that's kind of the point." He said with a nod, as though it explained everything.

"You’re ignoring me for a kids' book that doesn't even use real words?" The hurt in Bradley's voice was mostly feigned.

Colin sighed, apparently resigning himself to the fact that any actual reading he'd had planned wasn't going to happen.

"Here," He said, handing Bradley the book.

"What?" Bradley stared at the book like it might grow fangs and bite him. "What am I supposed to do with your insane literature?"

"Read it." Colin said patiently, then rolled his eyes as Bradley started to protest. "Not the whole thing. Just this part." When Bradley still looked reluctant, Colin gave an exasperated sigh. "Seriously, the poem is all about adventure and monster slaying. At least give it a chance. Reading one poem won't make your balls fall off or anything." He shoved the open volume into Bradley’s lap.

Before Bradley had the chance to protest – he actually liked poetry, but Frost and Woodsworth tended to use actual words – someone on set called Colin's name. Colin stood, brushing off flakes of leaves and looking down at Bradley as he walked away, a funny little smile playing around his lips.

Bradley peered at the open pages apprehensively. At least the picture looked interesting. A dragon-like beast with angry eyes, huge fangs and, oddly, a button-down vest hovered menacingly over a small human wielding a sword.

“Jabberwocky,” Bradley said the title slowly, stretching out the strange sounds. He glanced up at Colin’s skinny little retreating backside and shook his head. “Yep, definitely insane,” He concluded, but he settled back to read it anyways.

~☆~


Colin ran a hand through his sweat-drenched hair and grimaced. Bradley was right. This climate was inhumane. Even his kerchief was soaked through, it’s usually perky knot wilting pitifully. Why anyone would chose to live here was completely beyond him. Maybe the winters were nice and temperate or something. Still, it would have to be like paradise to make up for the hellishness of summer.

Anthony and Katie were shooting next, which gave him about half an hour to relax before he and Bradley had to work on their last scene of the day. He snagged a bottle of water off one of the tables, and headed straight for his shade tree, intent on a short nap. If he lay absolutely still and didn’t move at all, maybe he could cool down a bit and even dry out a little. Yeah. Riiiight.

As he rounded the edge of the set, his shady cedar came into view. A shining figure, sword drawn, moved fluidly beneath it, sparring skillfully with an invisible partner. Colin’s stomach did a little flip at the sight, and he thought, not for the first time, that the director had been spot on when he’d cast Bradley James as Prince Arthur.

Sure Bradley could be immature sometimes. His pranks were always ridiculous and teenaged and his often successful attempts to rope Colin into them didn’t even bear mentioning. Sure, he could be infuriatingly dense when it came to understanding simple things, like the fact that Colin’s pink cheeks weren’t always caused by the sun. And sure, his confidence was often just shy of cocky, and sometimes not shy of it at all.

But then, Colin had never known that cockiness to cross the line into arrogance or meanness. And Bradley could also be charming. Too charming, Colin thought with a wry grin. And despite all his pranks, he really cared about his friends. Colin knew it from firsthand experience.

When his Grandmum, the woman who had been more like a mother to him than his own, had passed away last summer, it was Bradley’s comforting hand on his shoulder that got him through the service, Bradley’s arm around his waist that supported him so he could walk down the aisle past the casket, and Bradley’s jokes and laughter that had eventually pulled him back into the world of the living. Bradley, who had been booked solid in London doing talk shows, but had canceled everything and driven out to Colin’s hometown in the middle of the night after only one short, brokenhearted phone call.

Yes, Bradley was often immature, but he could be serious when it mattered. He memorized his lines with Arthurian thoroughness, and never arrived on set unprepared. Bradley respected Arthur as a character, and had explained to Colin once, words slightly slurred after some wine and a few beers, that it felt like disrespecting the ancient king if he did a shoddy acting job. And now here he was, in this ungodly heat and humidity that made Colin want to lie down and whimper, practicing sword forms with the passion of a perfectionist.

Yes, Colin thought, a smile tugging at the corners of his lips, He really did make the perfect storybook prince.

His smile faltered as he drew within hearing range of Bradley.

“Vvvvvorpal!” Bradley exclaimed, slicing downward with his sword. “Vvvvvvvvvvvvvvvvorpal!” He said again, swinging the blade up this time. Colin stared in bewilderment. “Vvvvvorpal! Vvorpal! Snicker-snack!” Bradley added sound effects to a rather impressive bout of flails. Colin tipped his head to the side, hoping that the scene before him would make more sense from a slightly different angle. It didn’t.

Then Bradley spotted him, sheathed his sword, snagged up Colin’s book and pranced over with more energy should be legal in this climate. “You’re an absolute nutter.” Bradley said without preamble.

That’s a little rich coming from a grown man dancing around with a sword and making accompanying Lightsaber noises, Colin wanted to say. All that actually came out was a rather blank “What?”

“Completely loony. One hundred percent cracked.” Bradley insisted cheerfully ruffling Colin’s sweaty head with his free hand, and offering him the open book back with his other. “That poems positively insane, just like you. Which must be why I like it so much.” Colin took the book numbly and just stared. “Plus, ‘vorpal sword’ is my new favorite word.” He pointed to the phrase in the poem, then drew out his sword again and slashed it around. “Vvvvvvvvvorpal!”

“That’s two words,” Colin said, brain still reeling slightly as he examined the line in the poem. “And I don’t think that’s how Carroll meant it.”

“Of course it is!” Bradley beamed. “Best sound effect ever.” he flailed and vorpaled some more.

“No,” Colin shook his head. “I mean, he’s using it as an adjective, right? Like ‘trusty’ or ‘shiny.’ It’s not a description of the sound it makes.”

“Really?” Bradley’s face crumpled in dismay, like Colin had just run over his puppy. Damn, but he was a spectacular actor.

“I could be wrong, of course,” Colin said quickly, cursing his inability to resist Bradley’s pouts. “It’s a made-up word. It’s open to interpretation.”

“So it could be a sound effect?” Bradley asked, perking up. Colin’s stomach did that little flippy thing again.

“Maybe.” He hedged.

“AWESOME.” Bradley grinned, and thrust his sword out again, narrowly missing Colin’s overlarge ear. “Vvvvvvvvorpal!”

“I take it back.” Colin muttered, remembering his earlier complementary thoughts with a shake of his head.

“Take what back?” Bradley asked, obviously afraid vorpal’s sound-effect status was in danger again.

“Every nice thought I’ve ever had about you.” Colin said decisively. “You’re hopeless.”

“Hey, you’re the one who gave me the poem.” Bradley reminded him as he slashed the air again.

“Obviously I failed to take into account the damage it would do to your already warped mind.” Colin answered, walking over to the cedar’s trunk and sinking down against it. “Hopeless,” he muttered again as he watched Bradley prance around in playful abandon. “Completely bonkers.” But the sight did manage to distract him from the humidity, at least for a little while.



~☆~



Back in his room at the hotel, Colin stretched out on his bed, blissfully naked except for a pair of Sponge Bob boxers. He basked in the air conditioning, sucking in its cool dryness and appreciating the gentle breeze that wafted over his exposed skin. His hair was still damp, but since it was shower water instead of sweat that curled his unruly locks now, he didn’t mind so much. He would, he knew, be chilled before long, but after the smothering humidity of the day, the coolness was a welcome relief.

Shooting the final scene had taken over two hours, as lighting was adjusted, camera angles were fixed, and Colin and Bradley tried valiantly to look like their characters instead of sweaty, miserable versions of themselves. It didn’t help that Bradley kept whispering “Vvvvvvorpal!” and waggling his eyebrows at Colin at inopportune moments between takes, which inevitably lead to fits of laughter they both had trouble tramping down. After the seventh such interruption, the director had sighed, asked them to please be adults for ten more minutes so they could all go home, thankyouverymuch, and they’d finally managed to keep a straight face through the last cut, finishing just as the mountains behind them swallowed the sun.

Half the staff had headed to dinner straight after the shoot, but Colin had begged off, too hot to have an appetite. Surprisingly, the usually ravenous Bradley had begged off as well. Colin wondered if perhaps he’d done himself some kind of injury while vorpaling around with his sword earlier. Maybe he’d strained something. His brain, for instance.

At the time, it had been too hot for any real contemplation on the matter. Now, he was too relaxed to care. Having thoroughly enjoyed his shower and planning to take a nap before heading out in search of food, Colin was just drifting off when a strange hissing in the neighboring room caught his attention. Colin peered at the wall that separated his room from Bradley’s. What was his co-star up to? The hissing stopped, and Colin shrugged mentally. As long as Bradley didn’t catch anything on fire, they were probably ok. The hissing started again, then stopped suddenly, followed by a sort of scrambling, a string of curses, several loud thumps and a muffled yell that might have been his name.

Colin bolted upright and flung himself out of bed, racing for the door. Oh my god, oh my god, he actually did catch himself on fire, he thought wildly as he slammed into the hallway, ignoring the startled looks of the other hotel guests. Heart thudding against his ribs, he shoved into Bradley’s room, staring around for flames or blood or something that would explain the murderous sounds of a moment before.

What he found instead was Bradley standing on the hotel room’s small loveseat, back pressed to the wall, arms folded defensively against his chest.

“What?!” Colin yelled. “What’s happened? Where are you broken? Why aren’t you bleeding?” At Bradley’s indignant glare, Colin realized that last question might have come out slightly wrong. “I mean, why were you yelling?” he was still searching the room with his eyes, but couldn’t find anything that looked deadly. “I thought you’d been killed.” He stepped farther into the room.

“No!” Bradley yelled. “Stay where you are!”

“What?” Colin asked again, glancing around to see if there was an axe murderer hiding behind the door or something, but the apartment still appeared to be murderer free.

“That!” Bradley said, pointing emphatically at the ground in front of the loveseat.

“That?” Colin asked, still not seeing any flames or glinting axes. Then something caught his eye. In the small space of floor before the loveseat, something long and slender moved against the patterned hotel carpet. A snake? He edged closer to get a better look.

“No! Don’t get too near it. It’s dangerous!”

The muted hotel lighting glinted off of the creature menacingly. It was about as long as a pencil, but maybe twice as wide. Its dark, segmented body, bright red head and countless pairs of yellow legs looked a bit like one of the show’s poorly constructed animatronic monsters in miniature.

“You prat.” Colin shook his head sadly. “It’s just a bug. And you’re up on that couch like a 50’s sitcom housewife who’s spotted a mouse.”

"It’s not…I’m not…” Bradley seemed to realize that it was and he was, and shut his mouth with a click. Then he looked back down at the bug and shook his head. “No, it’s not just a bug. And I'm not a pansy. Seriously, man. I have fucking spray,” He said, shaking a bottle at Colin, “Fucking kill cockroaches dead spray. I’ve carried it with me since that time in France. I shot the sucker right between the eyes…err…antennae, but it didn't die like it was supposed to. It like, I don’t know, got pissed or something and reared up and came after me and ..."

"You do realize it is a bug, right?" Colin said calmly. "A centipede, I think. And you're like five thousand times bigger than it is."

"That thing is not a bug." Bradley insisted, eyeing the centipede suspiciously. "I'm not afraid of bugs." Colin had to admit that was probably true, as Bradley had done just fine with the giant spider he'd found in his bathtub in France. Sure, he'd called Colin in for reinforcements, but then he'd been all manly and scooped it up and pranced it outside without a second thought. “That thing is a monster." Bradley insisted.

Colin eyed the (impressively big, but still) bug on the floor, lips quirking up on one side. "Yeah. It's a real Jabberwock alright. Snapping jaws, claws of doom, everything a fairy tale monster needs. If this is what Lewis Carroll does to your mental capacity, I’m never letting you read the Wizard of Oz. You’d never get to sleep at night."

"You’re mocking me." Bradley said in a good imitation of Arthur at his haughtiest. "You're mocking me and you’re mocking my fear. Wait! Where are you going?”

"I'm going to rescue you." Colin answered, resigned, and headed into the bathroom to grab a cup.


~☆~



"I told you so." The triumph in Bradley's voice was somewhat muffled by Colin's elbow in his face. It wasn’t even on purpose either, although it was oddly satisfying. There wasn’t a lot of room on the couch.

"I told you. And you didn't believe me." Bradley said. Colin still had the plastic cup and a copy of the script he'd planned to use to capture the centipede. He briefly contemplated hurling them at Bradley’s head. But that would leave him weaponless, which, considering the circumstances would be a sad state indeed. He’d just now calmed down enough to remember that he was wearing nothing but his boxer shorts. In the loveseat’s small space, far too much of his exposed skin was pressed against Bradley. There were so many levels of panic going on – proximity-to-Bradley panic, Bradley-skin-contact panic, MONSTEROUSLY-HUGE-BUG PANIC - that he didn’t even know how to begin sorting through them.

“We need a better plan.” Bradley said, as Colin tried to adjust himself so that less of his bare skin brushed Bradley’s jean clad thigh. It didn’t work.

"I think we need a bigger cup." Colin muttered, eyeing the centipede suspiciously and deciding that it might just be the lesser of two evils. “Right. I’ll go get one.”

"That’s not a better plan! That’s the same plan with a bigger cup!” Bradley yelled, grabbing onto Colin’s arm. “It’s still not going to work. You’re allergic to EVERYTHING, Morgan. We're NOT testing to see whether you'll be killed by this." For a moment, warmth filled Colin’s belly, then Bradley added “What would we do without the show’s title character?”

Colin punched him. Bradley shoved him back. Colin lost his balance, and one of his legs swung dangerously over the edge of the couch. The centipede reared and rushed towards Colin’s exposed leg until Bradley grabbed it and pulled it safely up onto the couch. Mandibles clicking fiercely, the centipede settled back into watchful stillness.

“On second thought, maybe I’ll just stay here for a bit.” Colin said, eyeing the bug with a new level of unease.

“What the hell are you two doing?” Colin’s eyes jerked up and spotted Angel, apparently back from the sushi bar, staring at them with raised eyebrows. Her eyes jogged from Colin’s Sponge Bob boxers to Bradley’s hand gripping his leg, to Colin’s horrified face. “At least shut the door, you guys.” She said, shaking her head. “The paparazzi aren’t just a European thing, you know.” And she made to close the door.

“No, wait!” Colin called out, heat rising in his cheeks. “It’s not what it looks like!” No matter how much he wished it was. “It’s not, you know, like a tryst or a moonlight rendezvous or…” He stopped when he realized just how much farther up her forehead those eyebrows had climbed. “THERE’S A BUG!” He finished, hoping increased volume would help cover his previous ramblings.

“A monster bug!” Bradley added, who’s cheeks, Colin noticed when he glanced over, were unexpectedly pink.

“A GIANT monster bug!” Colin realized they must sound absolutely mad, which probably accounted for Bradley’s blush, and waved the script and cup wildly through the air in an attempt to distract Angel from all the crazy. Had he been thinking at all, he probably would have realized that the flailing did very little to recommend his sanity.

Angel gave them an indulgent smile. “Are you telling me,” She spoke slowly, meeting first Colin’s eyes and then Bradley’s, “That you two have been treed by a bug?”

“Well, couched, really,” Colin said, and winced as Bradley elbowed him.

“You don’t understand.” Bradley pointed down at the statuesque centipede. “Just look at it! The thing is huge and mean and indestructible. Evil. Pure evil.” He’d started flailing now too, elbow just narrowly missing Colin’s eye, and Colin realized it was entirely possible that they had, indeed, both gone completely round the bend.

“You’ve gone completely round the bend,” Angel said with a sad little sigh. “You know that, right? But I still love you, and as I am apparently the manliest person in the room…” She started towards the bug.


~☆~



“What was that about being the manliest person in the room?” Bradley asked.

“I bet it’s plotting things.” Angel said from somewhere between Colin’s elbow and Bradley’s ear. “Evil giant buggy things.”

“I think you’re sitting on my spleen.” Bradley complained to the world in general and Colin’s shoulder in particular. Colin willed himself heavier out of spite.

Angel’s gutsy but ultimately futile Just Step On It plan had failed with a rather spectacular looking jig as the monstrous creature darted here and there, striking at her ankles, and now there was barely breathing room left on the loveseat.

“I thought I heard a party.” Katie called from the doorway. “Why wasn’t I invited? And why is Colin the only one without any pants?”

“Watch ou-oof.” Bradley wheezed as Colin jabbed him in the ribs.

“No, don’t tell her.” Colin whispered conspiratorially. “Let her figure it out the hard way. She deserves it for the pants comment.”

“Have it your way.” Bradley tried to shrug, but Angel’s teeth were in the way. “But she does have a point, mate. You aren’t actually wearing any pants.”


~☆~



“Bradley, move your…oww! Not that!”

“Sorry, but I need to, you know, BREATHE, Angel.”

“Well, you certainly aren’t having any trouble talking, are you?”

“Stow the elbows, will you Katie? You nearly put out my eye.”

“Ouch, is that someone’s knee or…?”

“Fuck, who the hell is WIGGLING?”

“Ok, everyone stop! Just stop moving for a bloody second!” The writhing mass of limbs and confusion stilled. Colin panted, trying to evaluate the situation. His left arm was somewhere under Angel, he thought, and his right was scrunched next to Katie’s ribs. At least his legs seemed pretty straightforward. He was kneeling on the couch, braced over someone’s lap. They should be easy enough to pull free if he needed to. Then he turned and looked straight into a pair of brilliant blue eyes and realized exactly whose lap he was currently occupying.

“Uhm.” He floundered, trying to avoid Bradley’s eyes.

“Yes, well. Hello there.” Bradley said pleasantly, he appeared to be just about as stuck as Colin. Maybe even more so, considering how Colin was all but riding him like a pony and everything.

Colin searched for something intelligent to say, and came up blank. That did not, however, prevent him from talking. “You know. This is a little awkward, really. What with all the legs and hair and skin and stuff. I mean there would be less skin of course, if I was, well, wearing pants, but I’m not, see, and therein lies the fundamental problem.” Colin realized he was probably rambling, but couldn’t seem to stop himself. The faster his mouth went, the more it distracted his brain, which, pressed up against Bradley as he was, was a very, very good thing. “So considering the no pants thing, I’d kind of like to, I don’t know, make it off this couch soon. Pleasant as it is to sit here with you all, I really had planned on getting dinner at some point, and maybe even having a bit of a nap. And I need to review the script for tomorrow, so maybe if we just, I don’t know, all shifted a little to the left? We could open enough space that Angel might be able to slip free, or…”

“Colin?” Bradley said, and his breath puffed out over Colin’s bare shoulder.

“Present! I mean, what? Yes?”

“Shut up.”

“Oh, yes. Right. Thanks.” Colin said, and did.

“So how are we getting off this couch, anyways?” Katie asked.

“We could just wait for it to go away. It’ll have to eat sometime.” Angel sounded doubtful.

“I think it wants to eat us.” Katie grimaced. A very small part of Colin’s brain, the part that that wasn’t currently struggling over whether ‘on a loveseat between two of our co-workers’ was an alright place for a first snog with his male co-star, thought she might be right. Despite all logic, the bug didn’t seem to have anywhere else to be.

Colin whimpered. He had to admit that the idea of spending an indeterminate length of time straddling Bradley James while wearing only his boxers had crossed his mind before. Then again, Katie and Angel had never been part of that equation. Nor had a maniacal million-legged bug. The universe clearly hated him.

“Here’s an idea,” Bradley said. “Angel, put your leg here. Now if I just…” In an attempt to turn sideways, he bucked up hard off the couch.

“Uwaaahhh!” Colin squawked, arms wrenching free as Bradley James’ hips thrust him backwards. He windmilled frantically before hitting the floor with a thud. “Oww.” He glared up at Bradley. “You prat.”

“Shit!” Bradley cursed, struggling to free himself.

“Oh my god, Colin!” Angel managed to detangle herself first and jumped down beside him. “Are you ok?” She sounded entirely too alarmed. Katie hopped down beside her, followed closely by Bradley.

“Fine.” Colin grumbled, wondering if she really thought he was that delicate. “A two foot fall off a couch won’t kill me.”

“No, but…” she regarded him with wide eyes. “That thing, Colin. The bug. You’re sitting on it.”

“What?!” Colin did not shriek and jump into Bradley’s outstretched arms, no matter how many times Katie told the story that way. He did, however, stand up very quickly, and, ok, he might have grabbed onto Bradley’s arm to catch his balance.

And there it was; the mangled corpse of what had to have been the scariest bug in all of creation. It looked rather pitiful now, all still and crumpled and half flattened. One of the antennae twitched. Colin jumped back a few feet, and wasn’t surprised to see the others do the same. He never took his eyes off the monster. He wasn’t sure he trusted it to stay dead. In the movies, and even on their own show, the monsters always seemed to come back to life.

“Colin.” Bradley stared at him, “You killed it.” He clapped Colin on the shoulder and shook him. “You killed it.” His eyes were round with disbelief. “You’ve saved the day. With your ass.

“Only because you shoved me!” Colin said indignantly, frantically wiping off his bum with his free hand to make sure there weren’t any legs or wiggly bits still attached. At least the bug really did appear to be dead.

“Your ass, Colin. I mean,” Bradley spun him around to take a closer look. “Who would have thought it? This bony, Sponge-Bobby little rear vanquished the villain! Mashed the monster! Squished the unsquishable!”

“What? Leggo of me.” Colin twisted, trying to escape the scrutiny, entirely too aware of the warm prints of Bradley’s long fingers against his bare shoulders.

“You know what this means, don’t you?” Bradley patted Colin’s rump fondly, and Colin wondered why he hadn’t yet mastered the art of dying. “Your ass,” Bradley proclaimed proudly, “Is vorpal! It's a monster slaying vorpal bum!”

“Vorpal?” Katie and Angel asked together as Colin said “What? Not it’s not. One little poem and you’ve gone completely insane. My butt is not a lightsaber!” He wiggled, trying to free himself from Bradley’s vice grip.

“Vvvvvorpal!” Bradley said in time with Colin’s hip twists. “Vvvvvvvvvvvorpal!”

“You are pants, Bradley, utter pants at being a decent human being.” Colin grated out through clenched teeth as he finally extricated himself from Bradley’s uncomfortably warm grip. Katie and Angel were watching them with mirrored knowing smiles that Colin was certain didn’t bode well. He sighed. “I am never living this down, am I?”

“Vvvvvorpal!” Bradley sang happily. “Vvorpal!”

Katie and Angel just kept grinning.

Colin buried his face in his hands and wondered what he’d done to deserve such terrible, terrible friends.

Through his fingers, he saw Katie’s smile deepen in that dangerous way that meant she was plotting something. He fervently hoped he’d never find out what. Unfortunately, he appeared to be paying for some really terrible past-life Karma, because at that moment, Katie turned to him and said, “You know what? I think we should put this in the show.”

“What, the bug?” Angel asked, eyeing the still motionless carcass. “It was pretty impressive. Bet it’d look even scarier if it was six feet tall.

Colin whimpered.

“No,” Katie shook her head. “Not just the bug. The whole lot of us getting treed by a magical centipede.”

“Couched.” Bradley corrected. “And I’m in, as long as Colin’s vorpal derriere makes a debut.”

“What!?” Colin stared at Bradley in horror.

“Brilliant!” Angel grinned. “We should run it by the writers tomorrow.”

“What!? No!” Colin tried again, but Katie spoke over him. “Yeah. Oh, and Merlin definitely doesn’t get to wear pants.”

Colin flopped down on the floor a safe distance from the dead monster and glowered at everything and everyone in the room. “I hate you.” He told a table leg vehemently. He could just imagine it now. The same writhing mass of limbs, Bradley between his thighs, and him clad only in Merlin’s scanty undergarments. It would be the same humiliation all over again. Only worse, because there would be cameras. “Bloody hell, I hate you all.” Giving up on life and all its cruelties, he flopped over onto the ground and buried his face in his arms.

“Vvvvorpal.” Bradley whispered in time with his movement. Angel and Katie both sniggered. Colin sighed. It was going to be a very, very long season.


/END



For anyone who has never had the misfortune of meeting a Japanese centipede, and wants to see what they look like (WARNING, BIG BUG ALERT) click here.

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moonilicious
Jul. 15th, 2011 11:38 am (UTC)
*wipes tears* That was hilarious. Oh, Bradley. Oh, Colin. Oh, ..everything. <3!!

If anyone asks, I was totally brave enough to look at the bug but I wasn't really.
fakinbrilliance
Jul. 19th, 2011 12:53 am (UTC)
So glad you enjoyed this! Thanks for reading :D
phantmgreeneyes
Jan. 7th, 2012 11:32 pm (UTC)
Brilliant! hilarious! And ewwwwwww giant bug.
fakinbrilliance
Jan. 8th, 2012 07:50 am (UTC)
Thanks for reading and commenting! And yeah, they're rather large bugs, aren't they (^_^;)
lordakirkland
Jul. 4th, 2012 03:32 pm (UTC)
Hahaha that was hilarious. I absolutely loved reading your fic, great job.
fakinbrilliance
Jul. 7th, 2012 05:33 pm (UTC)
Thanks! Glad you found it funny :D
( 6 comments — Leave a comment )

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