category: Slings & Arrows, Geoffrey/Ellen/Oliver
size: 1000 words
spoilers: none, or general, whatever. They won't bite.
notes: Hail, hail, [info]corinna_5, for being able to identify what was missing from the last draft on the very first try. The next one's going to have a real threesome in it, I promise.
Drunk as a skunk and very much alive, Oliver Welles finds Geoffrey's front door at just past one in the morning, the night of the opening night party, opening night.
He knocks and Ellen, his diva, his fair Ophelia, opens the door with one hand and pulls her dressing gown more tightly across her bosom with the other.
He leans on the door jamb, catching his breath. "Transcendent," he says to the night. "Absolutely transcendent."
"The show or me?" Ellen asks. Oliver looks at her, really looks at her, and then takes both her shoulders and gives her a kiss.
"You, my dear," he says, letting the door shut behind him. "You are transcendent, the evening was transcendent, and Geoffrey, my Geoffrey, was the very essence of transcendence. Where is he?"
Ellen chuckles. "Geoffrey's still at the party, sorry," she says. "He said he'd be home late."
"Bunch of sycophantic gits," says Oliver. "And that insufferable Basil, I had to get out."
"Me too," says Ellen, with a halfhearted gesture at her nightgown and slippers.
"Ah, bedtime, my favorite!" says Oliver. "Mind if I join you?"
Ellen goes positively white. "What?" she says. "No! Sorry. Sorry, Oliver, I mea- sorry."
Oliver laughs, a hearty belly laugh, and sits himself heavily on the couch in front of the fire. Ellen did always love a fire, he thinks, and he considers himself lucky that this is one of the contained ones, blooming in her hearth despite the balmy weather outside.
"Besides," Ellen is saying. "Geoffrey's not here. You want Geoffrey, Oliver." Then she backpedals. "Not that I mean you should -- or that you would, well, what am I saying, of course you would --"
Oliver nods. "I would," he says. He pats the cushion and she comes and sits beside him. She is truly beautiful, radiant in the firelight, and he leans in and kisses her and she doesn't push him away.
"You want me?" Ellen asks, quietly.
"I want you," says Oliver. If he'd said it to Geoffrey, Oliver thinks, Geoffrey would have slammed the door, right on Oliver's heart.
I'm such an old drama queen, he thinks. He says it to Ellen. "I want you, my dear," he says.
And that is how it happens.
Dead as a doorknob and habitually hungover, Oliver Welles finds Geoffrey in the supply closet.
He is in a ratty old sweater, one of those pieces of his that have never been in fashion and therefore never go out of fashion, and even in its woebegone state it manages to lend Geoffrey a waifish, seductive look. Geoffrey blinks his eyes open and Oliver is weak in the ghostly knees. He sits.
"You again," says Geoffrey.
"You asked why I slept with Ellen," Oliver begins.
"Oh, no you don't," Geoffrey stands up, banging over a plywood treestump and tangling himself in some ill-draped velvet. He shakes himself free and Oliver claps his hands delightedly.
I came to your house looking for you, Oliver doesn't say. "Ellen was at the door."
You broke me, you idiot boy, with your Hamlet, I was utterly and devoutly broken and there was nothing I could do but come to you and throw myself at your feet. "I was drunk," Oliver says. "She was drunk. You remember how it was."
"I remember," says Geoffrey.
"I threw myself at her," Oliver says. Hoping you'd come home, hoping I'd see you in all your power and your fury, hoping you'd be just drunk enough to join us -- "It was all very perfunctory."
"Why did you let me believe it was something more?" Geoffrey asks.
Because it's that much more than you'll ever understand, you thick-headed lout. Because even in death, I love you, Geoffrey Tennant.
"I'm an old drama queen," Oliver shrugs. "Can you blame me?"
Sad and alone and fading rapidly into oblivion, Oliver Welles stands, invisibly, in the corner of Geoffrey's bedroom in Ellen's house. He still thinks of it that way, Geoffrey's room, Ellen's house. He did Ellen on the sofa, for chrissakes, but the bedroom, the bedroom was Geoffrey's.
Ellen shrugs her robe from her shoulders and lets it fall to the floor. She throws her arms around Geoffrey's neck and kisses him, and he's kissing her back and Oliver's heart, what little remains of it, seizes in what there was of his dying chest.
"I love you," says Geoffrey. "You know that, right?"
"Yes," Ellen says. "Yes, I know that, but it never hurts to be told."
They slide onto the bed, she atop him, straddling him, working at the button of his corduroys.
"Oliver told me what happened. Back then," Geoffrey says.
Ellen's head collapses forward. "Oh, Geoffrey," she says. "Must we do this now?"
Oliver claps his hand to his mouth, like they'll hear him when he cries out with that last gasp of selfish glee. Still with them, he thinks. Even in death, still I haunt their depressingly vanilla sex life. Score one for Oliver Welles.
"No," says Geoffrey, kissing her, raking his fingers through her hair. "It's okay. I forgive you. I forgive both of you." Ellen lies down, her body thin and pink on top of Geoffrey's.
"I...loved Oliver," says Geoffrey, and Oliver can die a happy man. "I can't stay angry with him for a momentary lapse in judgement, and I hardly consider falling prey to your considerable charms to be a lapse in judgement on anyone's part."
Oliver can hear Ellen exhale, can hear her heart begin to beat again, and rapidly, as she kisses Geoffrey back.
He turns away, out of decorum, because it's theirs now, the love, the sex, all of it. Because Geoffrey will never know why Oliver came by that night, and even an old drama queen can't think of a reason to tell him now.
"He made me who I am," says Geoffrey, and then he doesn't say anything else because Ellen is kissing him and Oliver's kissed those lips before too.
Old as the hills and tired, so tired, Oliver closes his eyes in the dark.
It didn't really happen that way, but it could, and it might, someday.
Tonight Geoffrey comes home to an empty supply closet, and Ellen goes home alone to her own house to sleep alone in Geoffrey's bed.
"Welcome home," Oliver says, out loud, just to see the look on Geoffrey's face before he winks away.