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Title: When the Lights Begin to Fade (5/10).
Author: [livejournal.com profile] cloudysky.
Fandom: Chronicles of Narnia.
Pairing: Ben Barnes/William Moseley.
Rating: R.
Warnings: Real person slash.
Word count: 2,473.
Summary: What happens when the bright lights of fame begin to fade? What are you really left with? One minute you’re living in the lap of luxury, and the next, you’re living out of a suitcase and sleeping on your parents couch because they were certain you were never coming back. It’s time for a reality check. Sometimes slotting back into the real world is even harder than you think it’s going to be. When fame no longer comes knocking, it’s time to figure out what really matters. And it’s never what you expect.
Previous Parts: Here.
A/N: I’ve gone over this chapter a million times and I’m still not entirely happy with it, but there’s only so much editing I can do before I go out of my mind, so I’m going ahead and posting it before I just... don’t lol.

When the Lights Begin to Fade

5.



Moving to prop his head up on his hand, Ben peered over at the sleeping form of Will beside him. The younger man had dozed off an hour ago and Ben didn’t have the heart to wake him, even though he knew he should so he could head back home again. Will looked so peaceful lying there; the thought of disturbing him wasn’t a particularly appealing one and he couldn’t possibly leave without saying goodbye, he’d only end up getting it in the neck the next time they got together if he did.

He smiled, tentatively reaching a hand out and brushing a piece of hair from Will’s eyes. He let his hand linger a moment, his fingertips brushing across the younger man’s cheek.

This time, Will did stir, but he merely moved closer, cuddling up to Ben and burying himself in the soft fabric of his jumper.

Ben let him, wrapping an arm around Will’s shoulders and pulling him in closer. He was thankful for the warmth the younger man created. Seeing as they hadn’t bothered to get under the covers, and attempting it now would be too much hassle for both of them, he was beginning to feel the cold.

It was weird, being like this with Will, being so close to him... so comfortable.

In fact, all of this was weird, incredibly so.

Not two weeks ago they’d been nothing more than friends and now, here they were, lying awake at all hours sharing kisses and talking about absolutely everything. And when Ben said everything, he really meant everything. He’d found out some of the most ridiculous things over the past few weeks. From what Will was going to be called if he’d ended up a girl, to the day a five-year-old Will had got rather well acquainted with his mother’s make-up box. They’d known each other for over ten years, but this was the first time Ben could say he really knew anything about his friend.

Last night had been the first time they’d ended up at Will’s flat and upon stepping through the door Ben had been more than a little shocked at what he saw. He’d been warned it wasn’t anything particularly special to look at, but hadn’t prepared himself for how true that might actually be.

The place was tiny, miniscule even, with mismatched carpets and walls, and cracked tiles in the bathroom. But Ben figured that this was exactly how he could have ended up too if he’d not begged his way back into his parents home, so he could hardly complain about the decor without looking like a prize idiot. Sometimes you had to make sacrifices if you wanted to keep your independence.

It was strange though, no matter how much of a mess the place was, having Will there with him, it still felt just like home. He felt safe, like he could take on the world so long as they were together... and when he’d started thinking like that God only knew. Becoming a hopeless romantic was a rather recent thing.

The young man in his arms stirred again, burying his head against Ben’s shoulder and grabbing a fistful of his jumper, pulling him in closer. Ben smiled. He couldn’t help but find Will fascinating to watch while he slept, he was always so peaceful... mesmerising even.

By now he should have been on the other side of the city and preparing for an audition, but he couldn’t find the strength to even get up from the bed, let alone head out into the cold night and make his way to White City. It was an important audition, too, for a part that stood a very good chance of putting him back in the spotlight. But he didn’t care, he really didn’t care, he had all he needed right here.

It had been a long time since he’d felt truly happy in his own skin, and Will made him feel that way. What would rocking the boat achieve?

When Will finally opened his eyes, it was nearing dawn, and for several moments the younger man did nothing but stare, clearly confused by Ben’s presence.

Ben decided he’d better be the one to kill the silence and murmured very softly, ‘Hi there.’

‘Hi...’ the response he received was extremely muted and Will pulled away from him slightly, rubbing a hand over his face as he yawned. He seemed more than a little dazed upon waking up, but then, he had been asleep for almost three hours. ‘You’re still here,’ he added eventually. ‘You shouldn’t still be here.’

With a gentle smile on his face, Ben nodded his response and moved to sit up against the headboard instead. He gazed down at the younger man for several moments, quiet in his contemplation. ‘Couldn’t seem to tear myself away from you,’ he murmured. ‘Stupid, I know. I’ll never get anywhere.’

Will shrugged before he followed suit and joined Ben in sitting up, leaning against him and responding with, ‘I don’t know, I suppose it depends on what you need to get by...’

‘To be honest, I think I could get by fine with how we are right now,’ Ben said.

With an unexpected chuckle, Will moved very suddenly into Ben’s line of sight and pressed a tender kiss to his lips. He let it linger a while, still sleepy and lethargic from having only just woken up. ‘Why don’t we then? Move in with me?’ he asked when he finally pulled away. ‘Would save you living at your parents any longer, which I know you can’t stand, and you’d actually have somewhere to call your own. Sort of anyway.’

‘We’ve only been together two weeks; do you really think that’s the best idea?’

Will perked an eyebrow, still only a breaths width away. ‘Would I have suggested it if I didn’t?’ he questioned lightly. ‘We’ve lived out of each others pockets before now and things were – dare we say it – strained back then, so I think this should be a piece of cake.’

There was no way on earth Ben could just come out and say yes right away, no matter how enthusiastic Will was about the whole thing, there were too many questions that needed to be asked, too many things that needed to be figured out before he could even think about moving in with anyone. There were still a lot of things he needed to tell the younger man, things he’d promised he would, but was putting off time and time again.

Then again, if he did take Will up on the offer, he’d have a home again as Will had pointed out, something that not even a month ago he’d have killed for. He smiled, biding time as he thought it over, and then leant in to press incessant kisses to the younger man’s lips.

‘So...?’ Will was knelt right in front of him now, an attentive smile on his face, and his hands tangled into Ben’s hair.

Taking a deep breath, Ben thought about it a second longer, and then shrugged his shoulders. ‘Why the hell not? Got nothing to lose in trying,’ he said with a chuckle.

Will grinned – no, not grinned, he beamed, his entire face lighting up as he announced, ‘I promise that you won’t regret this.’

Ben really hoped not.

*

Dropping his case down onto the floor outside Will’s door, and very narrowly missing his toes in the process, Ben reached a hand out to knock. He was quick to pull it back again though as he felt the wood crumble slightly beneath his fist. Eyes wide, he tried again, more tentatively this time.

Christ, the place really was falling to pieces. He’d known it was bad, but perhaps he hadn’t realised just how bad (or Will had neglected to tell him that part at least). Today probably wasn’t the best time to start noticing these things though, Ben realised, but it was a little too late and he was already here. He could hardly make a run for it now he’d taken that first step toward moving in.

Following their discussion earlier that day, Ben had made his way straight back home and started on his packing. He managed to avoid his parents for the majority of his stay, only coming across his mother as he was heading out of the door with two cases in hand. The confrontation didn’t come without questioning and it was another twenty minutes before he actually left the house. She wanted to know everything, and each and every reply was received with a frown. In the end, Ben gave up caring, said his goodbyes and left her standing in the hallway talking to herself.

As per usual, Will was taking his sweet time to let Ben inside and as the seconds ticked by, he found himself becoming more and more paranoid.

When Will finally opened the door, Ben felt a sudden sense of relief and was thankful for it. If he’d been there any longer he probably would have grabbed his case and legged it. He’d met one of the younger man’s neighbours during his wait and, in a nutshell, he wasn’t particularly keen.

The old man, who introduced himself as Mr. Gardener, had taken one look at him and produced such a psychotic smile that Ben had almost taken off there and then. But he stood his ground, biting down hard on his lip as Mr. Gardener lurked in the doorway of number twenty-six for well over a minute, rocking back and forth on the balls of his feet, watching as Ben waited for an answer and clearly ready to pounce if he didn’t get it.

The very second the door was opened, Ben dived through it faster than lightning, and then slammed it closed behind him again before the younger man even got the chance to try, crying, ‘Your neighbour is fucking nuts, Will!’

Will stared, frozen to the spot, his hand in mid air as if he still held onto the door. ‘I’m sorry?’ he said then, laughing. ‘My neighbour?’

‘You should have seen the way he was looking at me,’ Ben continued, shaking his head as he began to pace. ‘He--’ pausing dramatically, he pointed over to the door ‘--is clearly not right in the head.’

Apparently Will wasn’t listening to a word he was saying and brushed past him, picking up one of Ben’s cases as he went and placing it in the corner of the room out of the way. ‘Who are you talking about?’ he asked eventually, taking a seat on the end of the bed. ‘Do you mean Ricky because, Ben, I don’t think that boy could hurt so much as a fly?’

Ben gaped at him. ‘Boy?’ he repeated. ‘Who are you talking about?’

‘My neighbour...?’ Will laughed and lifted an eyebrow questioningly.

Clearly there was some kind of misunderstanding going on here and Ben didn’t have a clue where to even start on figuring it out so, instead, slumped down onto the bed beside the younger man and admitted defeat. ‘It doesn’t matter,’ he murmured. ‘Apparently I’m the crazy one... or something.’

‘Or something.’

More laughter and Ben looked over at Will, playfully sticking his elbow out and jabbing him in the ribs. ‘Don’t be cruel,’ he said.

Will flashed a grin in his direction. ‘But you make it so easy for me.’

‘I do not,’ Ben argued, beginning to laugh himself now, unable to control it anymore. ‘You’re talking rubbish--'

‘No, I’m not,’ Will cut in. He shifted where he was sat, turning around so that he was facing Ben instead and tilted his head a little. ‘All you need to do is open your mouth and - BAM--'(Ben jumped on the spot) ‘--more ammo for me.’

Narrowing his eyes and getting the feeling now that the younger man had moved on purpose, Ben did what Will probably wanted and cut off any further argument with a kiss. It was the first time he’d initiated it, found the confidence to, and the instant their lips met, he felt his heart rate quicken. He fell into the kiss happily, bringing a hand up to Will’s face and caressing his jaw as he allowed it to deepen.

It took a few minutes, but the kiss eventually came to a natural end and they were both left a little out of breath, Ben still clinging onto the sleeve of Will’s shirt, determined to make sure he didn’t get away.

‘That’s definitely one of the plus points to you moving in,’ whispered Will after a moment.

Ben smiled, brushing the pad of his thumb over the younger man’s cheek as he leant in again, pressing another soft kiss to his lips. ‘Can’t complain,’ he said. ‘In fact, I could get ridiculously used to it.’

‘Well...’ Smiling, Will trailed a hand down Ben’s chest, his fingertips picking out the buttons of his shirt. ‘There’s more where that came from. Whenever you’re ready, that is. I’m in no hurry to get there.’

That was one of things Ben appreciated most about how Will was handling their relationship – if there was one thing he never did, it was push for more intimacy. He seemed perfectly content with whatever they did, whether it was spending the evening curled up watching a movie or whether they did actually teeter on the edge of taking that next step. But if Ben backed out at the last minute, he never held it against him, not even slightly.

Some days, it was that very same fact that made Ben wonder why he hadn’t overstepped the friendship mark sooner.

‘So I was going to order Chinese for dinner. Sound good to you?’

Ben quickly realised that Will had moved again, prized himself from Ben’s grasp and wandered over to the fridge, home to the most ridiculous collection of takeaway menu’s he’d ever seen. Will must have kept hold of every single one that had come through the letter box, but at least it gave them a good choice when they were hungry.

‘Perfect,’ Ben answered with a smile, lying down and giving Will some room for when he came back over.

He was joined a moment later and they spent ten minutes pawing through their choices, spreading themselves out across the expanse of the duvet. They lost several menu’s to the floor during the process and Will had to go scrabbling about to find his favourite, but they figured it out in the end and an hour later they were sprawled out in the exact same spot feeding each other bites of the feast they’d ordered.

Creepy neighbours aside, as far as evenings went, this one was pretty perfect. But hey, you couldn’t have everything!

Date: 2011-03-02 07:31 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] theweddingfairy.livejournal.com
Aw, they moved in together!
I loved this, it is so adorable!
But I feel so sorry for Will... his flat sounds awful.

This was great :)

TWF

Date: 2011-03-05 11:42 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] cloudysky.livejournal.com
Well, his flat was never going to be pretty haha. But no, it's not really too good.

Thank you! :D

Date: 2011-03-02 09:39 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] heidi-norsemyth.livejournal.com
Oooh, yay! That was a great update. They certainly don't waste any time, good for them. They could fix the place up maybe, amazing what some paint and new fabrics can do. Love these little domestic moments, not enough of them in this fandom. Kudos to you for writing such a nice story :)

Date: 2011-03-05 11:43 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] cloudysky.livejournal.com
There will be definite fixing up later on in the fic lol. And thank you very much, I enjoy writing stuff like this.

Date: 2011-03-03 02:24 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] lishalisha18.livejournal.com
OMG. i was so busy studying for my midterms and when i saw this i light up like a flyer-fly. that sweet that they move in together.

Date: 2011-03-05 11:45 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] cloudysky.livejournal.com
Haha hope it was a nice little distraction for you :)

Date: 2011-03-03 06:18 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] nydoeclyastar.livejournal.com
Another wonderful chapter! Creepy neighbors scoping out Ben makes me smile!! I had to laugh out loud when I read that part of the story!! Please update soon....this is a lovely story, I love the little moments of domesticity between the two of them!! :)

Date: 2011-03-05 11:47 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] cloudysky.livejournal.com
Thank you! :) I am here to entertain with ridiculous situations lol.

I'm hopefully going to update tomorrow. I planned to do it tonight, but I don't have the file with me as it's locked away at work on my netbook. Had to leave everything there thanks to a bomb scare. Most inconvenient!

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