x_moonshine_x: (bh ♥ g/n contemplation)
[personal profile] x_moonshine_x
Title: When the Lights Begin to Fade (7/10).
Author: [livejournal.com profile] cloudysky.
Fandom: Chronicles of Narnia.
Pairing: Ben Barnes/William Moseley.
Rating: R.
Warnings: Real person slash.
Word count: 2,044.
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: So this part doesn’t exactly pick up where the last one left off, but you’ll see...

When the Lights Begin to Fade

7.



For the last half an hour, Ben had been sat up in bed with his ear pressed to the wall, listening to the strange sounds coming from next door.

He had been awoken by a loud bang around three a.m., followed by lots of muffled shouts and then, again, more banging. He didn’t want to go jumping to any conclusions, but he was pretty sure that Mr. Gardener (the deranged neighbour Will refused to acknowledge even existed) was up to something suspicious.

Shifting closer to the wall, hands pressed against it as well now, Ben perked an eyebrow as he attempted to make head or tail of what he was hearing. It wasn’t exactly the easiest task he’d ever put himself up for, whatever was going on was extremely difficult to establish without actually going round there, an idea he wasn’t particularly taken with right now.

He could hear voices again, that of Mr. Gardener and... was that Ricky?

Ben had had the pleasure of meeting Ricky now. He was eighteen, over excitable and as gay as a picnic basket. When he thought about it, it was ironic that Will had moved in next door. And Will hadn’t been wrong about Ricky either. That boy wouldn’t have hurt a fly and, in fact, Ben was pretty sure he would nurse one back to health if given half a chance. In a nutshell, he was the sweetest boy to have ever walked the earth, which probably wasn’t the best thing – the word naive came to mind a little too quickly when he was being thought of.

Sighing softly, Ben gave up listening shortly after their shouting began, he couldn’t hear a thing and he was beginning to get neck ache. Maybe he could go round though and see what was afoot, check everything was OK and that Ricky wasn’t in any kind of trouble. He didn’t want to, but surely that was the neighbourly thing to do?

So, with that in mind, he dragged himself from the bed he shared with Will, pulled on some clothes and crept toward the front door. The hall outside was dark, the only light coming from a high window above the staircase down by number twenty-two. He hated this building, especially at night; it was as though someone had pulled it straight from of a horror film and they were all waiting with bated breath for the moment the serial killer struck.

Approaching Mr. Gardener’s door with apprehension, feet light against the carpet, Ben tightened the grip he had on the spaghetti jar in his hand (it was the only thing he could find at such short notice). He reached out with his left hand and knocked three times, hitching in a sharp breath as the conversation going on inside came to an abrupt halt. This was it then, the answers to all his questions were about to be uncovered.

He prepared himself, taking a step back, now gripping the jar with both hands.

A moment later the door swung open and he, in turn, moved to take a swing at whoever was standing there. However, he found himself face-to-face with a rather teary Ricky and the jar fell down to the ground with an ear-splitting crash instead.

Ricky stared for a moment, and then sighed as he murmured, ‘Ben... I thought you were the paramedics.’

‘Paramedics?’ Ben questioned, swallowing anxiously. ‘Is everything OK?’

The young lad shook his head before opening the door wider and letting Ben inside, where he saw Mr. Gardener huddled up in an arm chair looking more than a little worse for wear. In fact, he looked on deaths door and suddenly, Ben couldn’t help but feel guilty for all he’d been thinking about the old man. He couldn’t help it if he was a little odd, could he?

‘Heart attack I think,’ Ricky was saying. He was now stood just behind Ben, arms wrapped around himself for warmth. ‘It’ll be his second...’

Ben glanced back at the younger man. ‘I’m sorry,’ he said softly.

‘Don’t worry, you don’t need to say it,’ said Ricky. ‘Not as though it’s your fault, is it? He’s not been well for an awful long time. I’ve been waiting for it for months to be honest. We’re lucky he’s been OK for as long as he has.’

Nodding, but staying silent, Ben brought his gaze back to Mr. Gardener. Now he’d seen them both together, it was obvious that they were related, grandfather and grandson most probably. He felt like a complete idiot for thinking anything but. Mr. Gardener was sick, yes, but he was gravely ill and not sick in the head as Ben had originally thought. Jumping to conclusions as usual and he felt ridiculous.

‘You’ll have to let me know if there’s anything Will or I can do,’ Ben found himself saying, glancing to Ricky with a concerned smile. ‘Anything at all.’

‘Will do, don’t you---’

Ricky was cut off by a knock at the door and a moment later they were showing the paramedics into the flat. Work commenced immediately and, after five minutes, Ben found himself stood alone in the living room, left to lock the place up as Ricky went off to the hospital with his grandfather.

It really was the least he could do. He felt so incredibly stupid now for all that he’d been thinking and really wished there was more he could have done.

By the time he was letting himself back into his and Will’s flat, he found the younger man leant sleepily against the stove, boiling a couple of eggs. He glanced up as Ben came back in and smiled softly. ‘Where have you been?’ he asked. ‘I was beginning to think I’d lost you.’

‘Next door.’ Ben placed the spaghetti jar back in its rightful place, earning him an odd look. ‘Ricky’s grandfather had a heart attack... they think anyway. They’ve had to take him to the hospital.’

‘Oh...’ Will stopped what he was doing immediately, his eyes going wide.

‘He’ll be fine,’ Ben added, hoping to reassure his partner. ‘He didn’t look well, but he didn’t look as though he was about to... well, you know, drop dead or anything. Ricky said he’d been expecting it for a while. I told him to stop by if he needed us for anything. That was the right thing to do, yeah?’

‘Definitely.’ Now that what he’d been told had sunk in, Will relaxed and went back to making his breakfast, popping some bread into the toaster whilst continuing to make idle conversation. ‘You look a bit shell-shocked, Ben.’

Ben blinked, not quite hearing what Will said to him to begin with, but when it registered he shook his head and casually rubbed a hand over his face. ‘I’m fine,’ he said. ‘I could probably do with a bit more sleep, maybe, but that’s all. I was awake really early. Couldn’t sleep to be honest.’

‘So go back to bed,’ said Will softly, his full attention caught up in the kitchen now.

For a moment, Ben watched him, but then did as Will had suggested and settled back down to get a couple more hours sleep.

It did the trick. When he finally woke back up at around eleven a.m. he felt ready to face the day, his stupidity from earlier that morning well and truly forgotten. Will wasn’t there anymore though, he was long since gone, leaving nothing but a note pinned to the fridge with a magnet in the shape of a letter B in his wake. The younger man always used that particular one when leaving notes for Ben – it was more personal or something. Ben thought he was being a sentimental idiot... as usual.

Will was at work, wouldn’t be home until gone six, which left Ben with only one thing to do and that was to find himself a job, too.

It couldn’t be that hard, surely.

Could it?

-

‘It’s a no I’m afraid.’

Will knew those words were haunting Ben more than he cared to admit. Will himself had only been there the once when those immortal words had been uttered, but the older man’s face had fallen and, for a moment, it had felt like there would be no coming back from it.

‘You can’t let it get to you,’ Will said, placing his coffee down on the table in front of him, and then pulling out the chair to his left so Daisy could sit down.

She was having one of her rare days off from the kids and had decided to join them for the morning. Currently it was coffee and cakes in Starbucks time, an attempt to cheer everyone up following a rather fruitless three hours of job hunting and a failed audition for three lines in a well known soap opera. Since when had they been forced to stoop so low? It was one thing taking a job in Doctors where you were forced to wear some rather ridiculous headgear (Will would never let him live it down) while you were working your way up, but to audition for EastEnders and get a flat out no when you’d once been a hero to thousands of children, well that was a kick in the teeth.

‘I’m not.’ Ben sniffed indignantly, although his face was like thunder. ‘It was nothing, I can do better.’

Sighing softly, Daisy began to pull apart her muffin. ‘EastEnders isn’t what it once was,’ she commented, popping a piece in her mouth. ‘I mean, it’s missed out on Best Soap for five years running. Since when did Emmerdale become the be all and end all of soap land? Something’s up with that.’

Will perked an eyebrow and turned to face his sister. ‘What’s your point?’

‘Oh, right.’ His sister laughed, her cheeks flushing with pink. ‘I meant that you don’t want to listen to anything they say. They clearly have no idea what they’re doing anymore. Aim high, aim for--’

‘The dales?’

‘Exactly!’ Daisy slammed her fist down on the table, now smiling from ear to ear. ‘You can’t go wrong.’

Ben cleared his throat, cutting into the conversation and pointing his fork in Daisy’s direction. ‘Aside from the fact I don’t really want a part in a soap,’ he said. ‘It not exactly very, umm...’

Screwing her nose up, she shook her head and didn’t give him chance to finish his tentative sentence. ‘Now look who’s being fussy,’ she muttered. ‘You can’t afford to be fussy when no one’s hiring you.’

‘Guys!’ Will laughed, figuring he’d better end the conversation before anyone started arguing.

‘Anyway, I’d like to know what’s going on with Corrie – it hasn’t been the same since Jack Duckworth died...’

Shaking his head and hiding his face behind his hands, Will muttered feebly, ‘Can you stop please?’

Daisy laughed, gently nudging her arm into his. ‘Look, I’m a married mother of two; the wonderful world of soaps is my life now.’ She was grinning, clearly teasing them both. ‘I admit it isn’t much of a life, but if there’s one thing I know, it’s that.’

‘We believe you...’ Ben was smiling now as well, already over his earlier annoyance.

‘Speak for yourself.’ With a playful wink, Will turned his attention back to his latte.

The remainder of the day was fairly peaceful. They took a leisurely stroll to Hyde Park and Daisy sat and watched with an ice-cream while the boys headed out on to the water in a rowing boat. It took fifteen minutes for them to decide who was going to row, but in the end Will won the argument, forcing Ben to take it easy for a while, even if he didn’t want to.

‘Will?’

‘Hmm...?’

Ben sighed and leant forward, a smile on his face. ‘I may not say it much, but I’m really glad I met you,’ he murmured. ‘You probably won’t believe it, seeing as how much we used to argue, but it is true.’

Nodding his head, Will returned the smile, whispering, ‘I know.’

Life may not have been too kind to either one of them of late, but moments like this made it all worth it in the end.
From: [identity profile] campscoline7373.livejournal.com
Aww, shit.

It's like you don't want to read it because it's so sad: they aren't even't has-been, they are unemployed and unemployable.
But at the same time, you want to be there, cheering them along: be strong, be happy, have faith tomorrow ill be a better day.

I enjoy it with mixe feelings :/
From: [identity profile] cloudysky.livejournal.com
6 and 7 weren't posted close, there were actually 10 days between them lol.

Aww, don't worry, it'll all work out OK in the end. I am a strong believer in happy endings! ;)

Date: 2011-03-17 03:01 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] lishalisha18.livejournal.com
I still feel sorry for Ben, he is such a trooper. LOL. I hope everything will work out for them in the end

Date: 2011-03-17 03:55 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] cloudysky.livejournal.com
Course it will, no worries ;)

Date: 2011-03-17 08:33 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] theweddingfairy.livejournal.com
Yes! An update... yes, I am sad lol :P

Aw, poor Ricky! That's such a shame... I hope his grandfather is okay, though I just love the angst death causes...

And I feel sorry for Ben now... imagine being rejected from EastEnders! :O

Loved it :)

TWF

Date: 2011-03-17 11:30 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] cloudysky.livejournal.com
Nah, I'm like that sometimes hehe. Glad it made you happy though.

Oh that's nice (but I know what you mean)!

Impossible to imagine isn't it? lol.

Date: 2011-03-17 09:21 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] heidi-norsemyth.livejournal.com
Being rejected from EastEnders? Wow, that's like an alltime low, poor Ben. At this point I'm hoping some producer's going to approach one or both of them with the opportunity of starring in another Narnia movie.
Would like to see some more relationship development, hopefully later. Otherwise a nice update honey.

Date: 2011-03-17 11:31 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] cloudysky.livejournal.com
I couldn't agree more (has a severe dislike for EastEnders though). Something will turn up pretty soon, but it may not be what you think ;).

There will be plenty more of that next part, don't you worry! And thank you.

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