Fandom: Queer As Folk UK.
Written for: jamjar in the Yuletide 2006 Challenge
There was a bright "Hello?" and Stuart said, more crossly than he'd meant to, "You do know your son's mad?"
There was a high-pitched squeal on the other end. "Stuart! Oh my God, Stuart! Where are you? No, don't tell me! Is everything all right? Is Vince--yes, of course he's all right; you said he's mad, which means that everything's normal. What about you; you all right?"
Stuart rolled his eyes. "Well, I drink heavily. That seems to help." He raised his perfectly tanned arm and gestured rapidly for Vince, who looked up, puzzled, and then folded the map neatly back into quarters. "We've been to Portugal and Egypt and Chile," he told her, and here, Vince was coming, "and now we're in America again. We've been chasing flying saucers ," and then, before Hazel could say anything, "Here: wish your son a happy birthday," and extended the receiver to Vince.
"Hotel giving you trouble, then?" Vince asked, taking the phone.
Stuart didn't smile. "It's not the hotel," and Vince frowned and said, "Hello?" and then "Oh, my God!" and then Stuart did smile.
"Hazel!" Vince shouted gleefully, "I can't believe you--oh, well, of course he did," he said, his momentary glare melting into a look of visible adoration. Stuart put on his sunglasses and preened. "How are you, how is everyone, how is Bernard and Romey and--oh, we're brilliant, really we are, we're--" and suddenly the visible adoration snapped back into a glare. "Yes; yes, we are, but it's nowhere near as mental as it sounds. There's an entire global network devoted to paranormal--oh, yes, fine, some of them are conspiracy freaks, but not--yes, hold on," Vince said, and handed the phone back to Stuart with a sigh.
Stuart grinned and took it. "Hazel. Darling--"
"You're batty, the pair of you. Why are indulging him in this?"
"Well, for the anal probes, obviously," Stuart said, and Vince grabbed the phone back, glare turning to thunder as Stuart laughed. "It's not like that at all," Vince interrupted. "It's not about little green men with antennae; it's about documented alien interventions into historical events. Stuart's seen the evidence, haven't you, Stuart?" he added, holding the phone out in Stuart's direction, and Stuart called out, "All right, yes, I've seen pictures! Alien pictures! Collected by desperate and pathetic paranormal fanboys just like--"
Vince yanked the phone back and said, "Anyroad, we're having a fantastic time," and Stuart leaned in and called, "That's true, actually!"
Mollified, Vince went back to nattering with Hazel, getting the dish on everyone and repeating it back to Stuart like some sort of gossiping parrot: "Bernard's had angioplasty, but he's fine," and "Alfred's started primary school," and "Nathan's living with some bloke up near Sheffield," and by the time they got to the goodbyes and the making kissing sounds into the telephone, Vince was glowing with happiness.
He racked the receiver, then grabbed Stuart by the front of his shirt and gave him a deep, enthusiastic kiss. It should have been funny, but it wasn't, and Stuart found himself gripping Vince's hips and pushing his tongue into Vince's mouth. When Vince finally broke off the kiss, he left his arms draped around Stuart's neck and said, fondly, "I wish I could quit you."
Stuart barked out a laugh and knocked his arms away. "Oh, fuck off," he said, and headed for the Jeep.
Vince followed behind him. "Oh, come on! That film was fucking brilliant. Like Titantic for poofters."
"Titanic was Titanic for poofters."
"You can be Ennis," Vince said, as if that were in any way generous, and Stuart wheeled on him and said, extending his hand for the Jeep's keys, "Right. Like I would ever even pretend to be that miserable wanker," and Vince sighed and dropped the keys onto Stuart's palm. "Do you want to go and find a UFO or what?" Stuart asked, and Vince cheered instantly. "Yes," he said. "Yes, I do," and then he turned to the dusty brown plains and the ribbon of sun-baked road and threw his arms exuberantly into the air. "Let's cruise the Extraterrestrial Highway!"
Stuart got into the Jeep. "That was a disco song, wasn't it?" he asked. "Brian Eno?"
"No," Vince said, scrambling up beside him, "but actually, do you remember the UFO series? Early 70s Gerry Anderson project? Ed Bishop as Striker--"
Straker , he thought, and started the engine. "I don't know what you're--"
"Come on, you remember. Gerry Anderson. What did Thunderbirds, with the puppets..." and Stuart shoved into gear and sped past the sign that read, Welcome To The Extraterrestrial Highway.
Stuart had booked them into the only hotel within miles, the groan-worthy "A-lee-Inn Bar and Restaurant" in Rachel, Nevada. The "A-lee-Inn" was a small, white stucco building, and if the rooms weren't smart, they were at least scrupulously clean. He threw his rucksack onto the bed and flung his shades down after it.
"All right," Stuart said. "Exactly what instructions did this bloke give you?"
Vince was already fumbling through his papers. "Right. He's given us a set of coordinates; the place is vast, but apparently there's a tripwire. Sets off a beacon, alerts the alien ship. It's right...here," he said, stabbing a finger into the map, and then he frowned down at it and looked up. "In the restricted area--dammit, Stuart, you don't suppose it's a scam after all? He gives us coordinates we can't get to?"
Stuart reached into the back waistband of his jeans, pulled out his Glock, and checked the clip; the best thing about America was its refreshingly generous attitude toward firearms. "We'll get you in there, Birthday Boy, don't you worry."
Vince sprawled back on the bed and grinned up at him. "I forgot; you don't take rejection well."
"It's my heritage, boyo. D'ya know the story of St. Peter and the IRA man? No? This IRA bloke shows up at the Pearly Gates, and St. Peter shakes his head and says, 'Sorry, mate, we don't want you lot in here,' and the IRA man says, 'Oh, I don't want to come in. I'm giving you all three minutes to get out.'" Vince laughed, and Stuart hauled him up off the bed. "Come on," Stuart said. "Let's do some reconnaissance."
They drove further down the Extraterrestrial Highway and took a right at Groom Lake Road. It wasn't long before they hit barbed wire, and Stuart turned and followed the fence's perimeter deep into the desert, glancing frequently between the road and the Jeep's GPS.
"Here," Stuart said finally, and jerked to a stop. "This is where we'll get in," and he put on a pair of heavy-duty electrical gloves and a pair of safety glasses before making a number of strategically-placed cuts in the fence. He was pretty sure that the guards wouldn't check the hundreds of miles of perimeter in any detail; presumably, if it looked all right in the brief sweep of a spotlight, they would simply move on. Still, that meant he couldn't fully make the hole, or make it big enough to bring the Jeep through; on the other hand, this was all infinitely easier in the daylight. Later, they could simply move through the dark with torches, bend the metal back, and slip through the gap.
Behind him, Vince was pacing nervously, field glasses raised to his eyes in search of guards. "Have I mentioned lately," he said, dropping the glasses, "that you are an immensely talented human being and the best friend a bloke ever had?"
Stuart rolled his eyes. "Have I mentioned lately," he said, "that you're a nutter and I'd much rather be in Las Vegas?"
Vince sighed and looked wistful; they'd both fallen madly in love with Las Vegas from their very first glimpse of it, a blur of bright light over the Hoover Dam. Gayboys! Slot machines! A complete lack of taste! Vince had insisted they take the penthouse suite in the Luxor, and then they had both got very, very drunk and put on a load of eyeliner and played Egyptian Pharaoh and Roman slave boy for hours.
"Yes, well," Vince said, raising the field glasses again. "You want to see tacky? Just wait till the flying saucers land. It'll make Vegas look like Wilmslow."
They went back to their room at the "A-lee-Inn" to rest up for the evening, "resting up" consisting of Stuart unzipping his fly, grabbing Vince by the hair and forcing him down. Vince thumped to his knees a little harder than Stuart meant him to, but Vince never minded Stuart pushing him around a bit. Quite the contrary. Stuart fumbled his cock out, and Vince gasped and leaned in to slide his lips around it, eyelids fluttering closed and his pale face going smooth and blissed out. He cupped the side of Vince's head, thumb stroking hard along the temple, and let Vince worship him for a while, though he had to take slow, deep breaths in order not to come. That got harder when Vince began to moan softly, his neck straining up and his hands fumbling to grip Stuart's hips, and Stuart looked away fast. Close your eyes; keep them shut; think of anything--anyone--else; count back from ten; from a hundred; by threes; Vince was thirty-five today, thirty-fucking five--but then Vince's lips slid tight and wet over just the right spot, and that was it, he couldn't hold back anymore.
He came hard, hips jerking and shouting out almost triumphantly. Vince swallowed around his cock and then pulled away to rub his cheek against Stuart's thigh. Stuart opened his eyes and looked down, moved by Vince's simple, easy tenderness; it was still such a luxury. He tilted Vince's face up, and when Vince opened his eyes, Stuart hauled him to his feet and kissed him breathless, arms wrapped round him tight. When they finally broke apart, Stuart said, in a soft, dangerous voice, "Don't say I never did anything for you," and pushed Vince down onto the bed.
Afterwards, as the afternoon shadows deepened into twilight, they lay there, tangled together and dozing. "Tonight," Vince whispered, sounding gratifyingly hoarse, "when we go, we ought to pack everything up. Take everything with us, in case we don't come back," and Stuart smiled against the hot, kiss-stung skin of Vince's neck and said, "Yeah, all right."
It was dark when they finally came awake, and they showered and dressed and repacked their rucksacks in the orangey light of the room's cheap wall lamps. The "A-lee-Inn" Restaurant was still open, and they sat down at a formica table and ordered bacon and tomato sandwiches and cups of tea. Stuart slouched back in his chair and stifled a smile as Vince went excitedly over his checklist.
"Torches? Check! Batteries? Check! Cereal bars, tool kit, dictaphone, compass--"
"--guidebook, beach umbrella, parachute," Stuart interrupted, rolling his eyes. "Listen, I think you're going about this all wrong. This is a voyage to the stars we're taking about, not a bloody day trip to Southport." He snatched the checklist out of Vince's hand, balled it up, and tossed it across the room. Vince mimed outrage but didn't actually seem to be bothered. "Hitchhiker's Guide was closer to the mark," Stuart said. "Towel, lubricant, ammunition--"
"Oh, well, that says everything about you, then, doesn't it?" Vince said, snorting.
Vince's eyes narrowed. "What the fuck will you need condoms for?"
"--birthday cake," Stuart said, and then added: "What if we break up?" but before Vince could get out his visibly swelling rebuke, the waitress put down a huge slab of chocolate cake with a candle in it and started singing. Vince looked up, flushed and surprised. Stuart didn't sing, though he did reach across the table to tangle his fingers with Vince's, and the waitress's visibly uncomfortable look made him smile.
Vince thanked her profusely, and kissed him with chocolate-sweet lips after she'd fucked off again. "Best birthday ever," he said.
The Extraterrestrial Highway was pitch black and empty as they drove along through the night, but the star canopy above them glowed with light. Stuart felt electricity prickling his spine, making the hair on the back of his neck stand up; he was perfectly aware that this was just a piece of theatre and that they'd be back in Vegas by tomorrow night, but still, there was something eerie and gorgeous in the air. Vince's hand slipped into his, and Stuart glanced across the Jeep's cab and saw his awed, upturned face. Bugger the dictaphone, Stuart thought, smiling: he had blankets, and a thermos of hot coffee, and they could huddle and fuck and kiss under this amazing sky.
They turned onto Groom Lake Road, and began to follow the fence that encircled Area 51, using the Jeep's GPS system to find the part of fence he'd cut through. When they got there, he pulled the Jeep off to the side of the road and cut the engine.
Vince was practically vibrating with excitement, and the sensation was weirdly contagious. "Stuart," Vince said, squeezing his hand, and Stuart slid across the seat and gave him a quick, hard kiss in the dark.
"I love you," Stuart said in a voice that sounded terrible to his own ears. "I fucking love you, all right?" and Vince surprised him by dragging his head forward and kissing him so hard it hurt.
They got out of the Jeep and went to the back to pick up their torches and supplies. "Come on," Stuart said, and began to follow his torch beam toward the fence. "Be careful," Vince hissed. "Remember the electricity! Where are your gloves?" and Stuart looked over his shoulder and shouted, "Why are you whispering?" and Vince shouted back, "You have no fucking sense of atmosphere!" Stuart yanked the gloves out of his jacket pocket, and whacked Vince with them before sliding them on. Vince pulled on his own gloves and then fumbled a pair of safety glasses onto his face for good measure, his hair sticking up everywhere. They were both wearing rubber-soled Doc Martens under their jeans.
"Stuart, be careful!" Vince hovered over his shoulder as he pulled out a pair of electrical pliers and began bending the fence back along the cuts.
"I'll be fine, mother," Stuart said, grunting. "Here, help me out," and Vince bit his lip nervously before reaching out to help bend the fence back. In a few minutes, they had made a serviceable hole, and they pushed their rucksacks through before carefully edging through themselves. "All right," Stuart said, sliding his pack on again. "Now what?" but Vince was already on the move, torch in one hand, compass in the other. Stuart followed, trying to keep his eyes trained on his torch beam but constantly distracted by the stars overhead.
He was staring up at the sky when Vince suddenly stopped, and banged into him, startled. "Here!" Vince said, turning around, his torch aimed toward his face so that Stuart could see his excited expression. "According to my sources, these are the coordinates."
"Right, then," Stuart said, and made a slow arc with his own torch beam, searching for--well, anything at all. From what he could see, however, they were surrounded by the same dirt, the same sparse shrubs and scrubgrass; there was nothing to mark this patch of land as different from any other. Not that Stuart was surprised. "All right," he said, sliding his rucksack off and letting it drop into the dirt. "Who's for coff--?" and then there was a flashing light, and the air was rent with a rhythmic screeching sound. Stuart turned, hands instinctively coming up to cover his ears, and then he raised an arm to protect his face from the whirling dust. Vince was boggling at the blue box that was--holy fuck, materializing out of thin air. Impossible--and Stuart took a step back, tripped over a shrub, and fell on his ass.
"This isn't..." Vince lurched backward, but managed to keep his feet. "This can't be..." and then he whirled on Stuart with a look of abject devotion. "Stuart! Did you--" and Stuart burst out laughing; trust Vince to assume that he had somehow managed to arrange this.
The door to the blue box opened and a man in a leather jacket stuck his head out. "Hello! What's this, then--American southwest, 21st century?" He looked around at the Nevada desert and then said, with something very like delight, "Oh, you must be some of those alien groupies; well, come on, lads, cameras out," he said, stepping out of the police box and snapping his fingers. "Left side's my good one."
Stuart looked at Vince and whispered, "William Hartnell, Patrick Troughton, Jon Pertwee, Tom Baker, Peter Davidson, Colin Baker, Sylvester McCoy, Paul McGann--"
"Paul McGann doesn't count," Vince said mechanically.
"--and this isn't any of them," Stuart said, and Vince glared at him and said, "Of course it's not any of them! They were actors! This is real!"
"Absolutely, positively, 100 percent real," the man in the leather jacket said. "Gen-u-ine naugahyde, accept no imitations. And now, if we're done debating the nature of reality--" and behind him, the door to the police box opened again, and a blonde girl said, "Doctor? Is everything--"
"Oh. My. God," Vince said. "Rose?"
The man looked taken aback as the blonde girl peered into the desert night. "Vince?" she said, uncertainly.
"Rose!" Vince exclaimed, and then they were embracing and exchanging air kisses. Stuart got up, brushing off his pants, and exchanged a look with the bloke in the leather jacket, who looked as irritated as he felt. "Rose," Vince said, pulling her over, "you must remember Stuart," and Rose smiled and nodded politely. "Stuart," Vince continued, unstoppably, "you remember my cousin Rose Tyler; you must've met at Judith's wedding. Rose's father, Pete, God rest his soul, was my dad's second to youngest brother--"
"You know, I've studied maths for years," the bloke in the leather jacket said to no one in particular, "Pythagorean, Euclidean, Cartesian, Reimann-Helmholz, T'ylithian, Kn'knorathian, and Inter and Intradimensional, not to mention the Seventh and Eighth Theorems of Gorm, and yet my life has been continually plagued by these ridiculous coincidences," and just then, the door to the blue police box opened and--
"Oh, fuck," Stuart said.
"Look, it was ages ago," Stuart whispered to Vince, glancing nervously at where Captain Jack Harkness was fixing them all really gorgeous-looking martinis; he hadn't expected space travel to have such amenities. "Ten years at least--"
"Now I know why you were so eager to pack condoms," Vince said. "Whole new universe to explore--"
"Is there anywhere in the universe we can go without running into one of Jack's shags?" Rose asked the Doctor. "Or are they a feature, like hydrogen?"
"I might say the same thing about your relations," the Doctor pointed out gently. "Not that they haven't been charming--"
"--and besides, he never said he was an alien," Stuart insisted. "It was just a regular Tuesday night two-for-one down at the Paradise as far as I was concerned--"
"Ah, yes, the Paradise," Jack said dreamily, coming up with a tray of very large drinks; Stuart grabbed for one gratefully and downed half in a single, greedy swig. "One of the rare establishments which lived up to its name." He gave Stuart a look of such frank and open sexuality that Stuart's mouth went momentarily dry. "Fantastic sex, if memory serves; Mariner's Court, right?"
"Oh my God! There weren't enough men on planet Earth?"
"Mariner's Court, yeah," Stuart mumbled, rubbing his eyes, but he could still feel Vince willing his head to burst into flames. "Look, Jack, why don't you show Vince around?" and then he grabbed Vince's arm and gestured expansively with his drink. "Look, Vince--it's the TARDIS."
"I'll have the Doctor show me around, ta very much," Vince replied, pointedly crossing his arms.
"I'd be delighted," the Doctor replied. "Any cousin of Rose's is, of course, one of Rose's cousins."
Jack nudged Stuart's shoulder. "Any chance of a repeat?"
"No!" Vince shouted. "No! Absolutely not!"
"Threesome?" and when Rose glared at him, Jack instantly amended, "--or a moresome, of course."
"What part of cousin do you find difficult?" Rose demanded. "Cousin as in blood relation--"
Jack raised his eyebrows. "It's not a buffet, Rose. You don't have to try everything--"
The Doctor tilted his head and said, in a soft, amused voice, "More for the rest of us," and Vince's head whipped around.
"You...are you saying that you would--" Vince said slowly, and Stuart found himself grabbing Vince's arm and saying, "Now hang on a minute; you're the one who's always on about--" Vince turned to him with pleading, desperate eyes, and Jack was grinning at him wickedly, and Stuart threw back the rest of his martini, and what the fuck: best birthday ever.