Title: Hella Nervous
Summary: Dougie hasn’t even had time to get uncomfortable in his hiding place before he hears footsteps. He almost wonders why he bothers, but the twisting, roiling feeling in the pit of his stomach is reason enough.
Pairing: Danny Jones/Dougie Poynter, Tom Fletcher/Dougie Poynter
Rating: PG? PG-13?
Warning: Oneshot. Slash.
Author's Notes: 2,122 words. A sequel of sorts to 19th Nervous Breakdown, Anxiety Got Me on the Run, and Nerves Like Nylon but can stand on its own. Thanks to figletofvenice for the beta, as per usual, and the title request. ;)
Dougie hasn’t even had time to get uncomfortable in his hiding place before he hears footsteps. He almost wonders why he bothers, but the twisting, roiling feeling in the pit of his stomach is reason enough.
The footsteps stop on the other side of the curtain blocking the main backstage area off from where the extra equipment is kept. Dougie gnaws on his lip as he watches the toes of Danny’s shoes turn in to face the curtain, then one toe taps, stops, taps again, stops.
“Dougie,” Danny’s voice is low, but in a ‘we’re backstage’ way as opposed to an ‘I don’t want to feel even more stupid if you’re not actually there’ way.
Dougie holds his breath and squinches his eyes shut. Maybe Danny will just go away.
No such luck.
The curtain rattles a bit as Danny pulls it back, and Dougie can hear Danny’s shoe tapping against the floor. Danny doesn’t speak for what feels like an eternity, and Dougie has the insanely impractical hope that Danny hasn’t actually seen him, despite standing directly in front of him. It lasts all of two seconds.
“You’re hiding backstage,” Danny says, and there’s the slightest hint of a question behind the words, like Danny doesn’t quite believe them himself.
Dougie opens one eye and peers up at Danny, who is practically standing on top of him, one hand still holding back the curtain. Even in the awkward backstage lighting Dougie can read the look on Danny’s face – a combination of ‘wow, this is sad, even for you’ and ‘you look like an idiot sitting on that pile of amps in the dark, but I’m going to try really, really hard not to laugh.’ Dougie shuts his eye again and tries to curl up even more around his pulled up knees.
Danny sighs loudly. He sounds very put upon. Dougie wonders if he’s been taking lessons in sighing from Tom. He can practically hear the eye roll. He thinks vaguely that that means he knows Danny too well, or that he knows Tom too well. Probably both of them, though he has been spending a lot of time with just Tom lately, maybe only a little bit on purpose, not that he’d admit that to anyone.
“You know Tom will kill you if you knock those over,” Danny points out, and of course he’d have to bring Tom into it. Dougie hopes he’s not as easy to read as he’s worried he might be. That would be. Awkward. It’s not as if it’s unusual for Danny to bring up Tom like this, anyway, he reminds himself. Tom would be upset if Dougie knocked the amps over. “And they don’t look all that sturdy, stacked like that.”
Dougie mumbles into his knees and hopes it sounds like whatever Danny wants to hear that might have a chance of just making him drop the curtain and go the fuck away. Tom wouldn’t be happy, which would suck, because Dougie hates making Tom upset – his eyes get all sad and it makes Dougie want to do stupid shit to make him smile again – but given the circumstances right now, it’s a risk he’s willing to take.
Danny sighs again. “Fine,” he says. “Have it your way.” And Dougie feels that tiny spark of hope again. A hope which gets crushed when Danny scoops Dougie off the pile of amps – one arm under his bent knees, the other around his lower back in a bridal carry – turns with him in his arms – staggering for a moment in which Dougie thinks maybe they’ll both fall and break bones, or something, which would involve a trip to the emergency room, but no interview – and sets him down on the other side of the curtain. Dougie stumbles when his feet hit the ground, but Danny hangs on to him until he’s properly upright, keeping him from tumbling over onto his face. Dougie’s not sure why he appreciates being spared that indignity, given hiding on a pile of amps behind a curtain isn’t particularly dignified, and he’d been contemplating broken bones as a viable option, but he does.
“Thanks,” Dougie mutters, and maybe it comes out a little grudgingly, because if Danny hadn’t hauled him off the amps to begin with, Dougie’s face wouldn’t have needed saving from the floor. But Dougie’s not sure Danny can tell anyway, because Dougie’s forehead is pressed against Danny’s shoulder, and his voice is a little muffled by the flannel of Danny’s shirt.
Danny’s laugh is of the mostly-silent-backstage variety, but Dougie can feel the vibrations through his chest.
“Not funny,” Dougie huffs, and pushes away. He doesn’t usually care about being laughed at – he’s getting pretty used to it from his bandmates, and besides, it makes Tom’s dimple show – but right now. Right now he really just wants to curl up behind the curtain again and die. Or at least just stay there until it’s time to go home. He’d like to go home now, actually, no lights or cameras, or people sticking microphones in his face. His stomach twists unpleasantly. He shifts a little on his feet – heel toe heel toe – and hopes the rocking motion is enough to keep him from being sick.
“Stop thinking about it,” Danny tells him.
Dougie looks up, and Danny’s grinning at him, but in a ‘we can get through this’ kind of way, rather than a ‘you’re a complete idiot and I can’t believe I’m actually friends with you’ kind of way.
“We got the fifteen minute warning, and Tom decided we should spread out to find you. That was probably almost ten minutes ago, now.”
“Can’t you pretend you didn’t find me?” Dougie knows the answer, but can’t help either the desperation or the tiny bit of hope that creeps into his voice. He meets Danny’s gaze and tries to look as pathetic as possible, which, really, isn’t all that hard. He feels pretty pathetic.
Danny rolls his eyes. “Chin up, Douglas,” he says, reaches out and tips Dougie’s face up with a knuckle under his chin, leans down and presses a smacking kiss to his mouth.
Dougie jerks back, startled, and, really, he should expect this by now, but it still manages to surprise him every time. That’s probably why Danny keeps doing it.
Danny laughs, sound low and a little pleased, catches Dougie by one arm and the back of the neck, hauls him in and kisses him again, hard and slow, tongue sliding past Dougie’s lips when he gasps.
Dougie’s free arm flails for a moment before his hand settles on Danny’s shoulder. He’s half kissing back, not thinking about it, just automatically responding, and then Danny’s pulling back, like he does, only he’s not looking at Dougie and smirking this time. His eyes are fixed over Dougie’s shoulder, at something behind him, and he looks like he’s been caught by his mum with his pants around his ankles rather than just snogging his bassist to prevent on-camera panic.
Dougie tries to turn, expecting someone from the station – a tech or one of the hosts, he’s not sure which would be worse – but Danny’s still got a firm grip on him and he can’t move.
“This isn’t –” Danny starts, and it’s Tom’s voice that says, “Are you two –” at the same time. Dougie stops trying to turn around, goes completely still in Danny’s hold, feels the bottom drop out of his stomach. Of all the people to see him and Danny, Tom has got to be the worst. Dougie sort of hates his life even more now than he did a minute ago.
There’s silence for a long moment, then it’s Tom who speaks again, voice low and weirdly clipped. “I’m sorry I interrupted. I’ll go find Harry and let him know you found Dougie. We go on in five. Just. Try not to get caught again.”
And that’s not right, none of that’s right, because Dougie can’t see Tom’s face, but he knows him well enough to be able to tell from his voice that he’s not grinning, he’s not laughing. Even if he thought there was actually something serious going on between Dougie and Danny – and it really sounds like he does – Tom should be mocking them ruthlessly for snogging in dark corners, asking if he needs to defend someone’s honor, wanting to know if he and Harry will be invited to the wedding. But he’s not. He’s apologizing. It doesn’t make any sense. It does make Dougie’s stomach twist again in an extra-unpleasant way. He thinks this might be worse than the thought of cameras.
“No, Tom, it’s not like that,” Danny’s saying, quiet so he won’t be heard, but fast like he needs to get the words out, like Tom’s already leaving and Danny has to make him stay. Dougie wishes Danny would let him turn. “I wouldn’t do that, you know that.”
“I don’t know what you mean,” Tom’s voice is stiff.
Danny makes a frustrated sound that Dougie can feel rumbling in his chest. “It’s to help him with his stage fright,” he says.
“What?” Tom still sounds tense, but there’s confusion there, too, now. Dougie tries to move, wants to see, but Danny’s arms just tighten around him, locking him in place.
“Snogging distracts him from getting so worked up and scared,” Danny explains, and that’s not really how Dougie would have put it, but, yeah, he guesses that’s pretty accurate.
“Snogging?” Tom echoes, and Dougie can hear the raised eyebrow, the disbelief.
Danny nods. “Yeah. Don’t know why, but it really does work. Ask Harry.”
“Yeah,” Danny says again. “He handled it when I was ill, a couple weeks ago. Remember?”
“I remember you being ill,” Tom says pointedly.
“Right,” Danny nods again, and loosens his hold on Dougie abruptly, letting his arms drop to his sides and taking a step back. “I’ll go let Harry know we found Doug.” He taps Dougie lightly on the head with his fist, gives him a significant kind of look that Dougie can’t interpret at all, then moves away. Dougie turns in time to see him punch Tom in the shoulder, and then it’s just Dougie and Tom.
“So you and Danny –” Tom starts, but Dougie cuts him off.
“He was telling the truth,” he says, feels awkward and defensive, and doesn’t really know why he should be either. Tom’s watching him strangely, and Dougie’s not quite sure what to do about it.
“Two minutes,” a tech says, sticking his head around the corner.
Tom turns, nods in acknowledgement, and the tech disappears.
“Fuck,” Dougie breathes, starts shifting his weight on his feet – not quite bouncing, this time, but close. He’d almost forgotten why they were here to begin with. “I think I’m going to be ill,” he says, closes his eyes tightly and wraps his arms around his stomach.
There’s a rustle of movement, and then. “Can I kiss you?” Tom asks, sounds very close.
Dougie’s eyes snap open, and he takes an automatic half-step back when all he sees is the logo on Tom’s shirt, scant inches in front of his nose. He tilts his head back a little so he can see Tom’s face. “What?”
“Can I kiss you?” Tom repeats. This close he looks a little red.
“Um.” Dougie blinks at him. “Danny doesn’t usually ask, he just –”
“No,” Tom says. “I figured that. This isn’t just. I want you to be all right with this.”
“Oh,” says Dougie. Then, “Oh. Oh. I. Um.”
“One minute,” the tech hisses, doesn’t wait for them, just ducks out of sight again.
“Yes,” Dougie says.
“Yes?” Tom’s eyes are focused intently on Dougie’s face.
Dougie nods, can feel his heart thumping in his chest with a different kind of nerves than only a moment ago. He feels himself start to smile, watches the matching expression spread across Tom’s face, dimple slowly appearing in his cheek. He doesn’t feel so sick anymore.
“Oh, thank fuck,” Tom murmurs, and then his hands are framing Dougie’s face as he presses their mouths together.
Dougie tips himself up onto his toes, arms unwinding from around his middle so he can brace his hands on Tom’s shoulders.
“Time to go,” Harry’s voice whispers.
Tom and Dougie break apart, and Dougie can see Harry and Danny smirking at them, blocking them from the view of anyone else backstage.
“I –” Dougie tries, but Tom just leans in, presses another quick kiss to Dougie’s lips, and grabs his hand to tug him towards the stage entrance.
“We’ll talk after,” Tom says, voice low, then he squeezes Dougie’s hand, and pulls him out onto the stage.
I'm usually not a Pudd, Pones, Floynter or whatever fan. BUT this arc is just too cute and great to not like :)
And I know how Dougie feels, I suffer from incredible stage fright too (not that I get onto a stage too often) and I wish I had a Danny to kissdistract me :)
I'm glad you enjoyed it!
I used to get really bad stage fright (I stay back stage, these days, so it's not an issue), and I was never as bad as Dougie - I never actually tried to hide, or anything - but, yeah, I wish I'd had a Danny to kissdistract me, too. :)
Aw, I just read all of them and I think it's really sweet how Danny's so caring, and how he understands Dougie's stage fright, even when he sometimes gets a bit annoyed, love overcomes it all.
And of course the way they help Dougie is the greatest!!
Loved reading this collection =)