Fic: The Codgers


Bernard was in the middle of a season of Shakespeare in the West End, when late one night, who should turn up at the stage door, but Sean Bean.

The hands let him in backstage without question, and certainly without asking Bernard if he had anything to say about it.  A flutter of whispers and titters followed him in – it was Sean Bean.

He was a lot craggier in the face than he’d been ten years ago, but then, weren’t they all.  He was looking just a bit like a poser, actually, like he was dressed for the press, in a pristine white shirt with an upturned collar, gelled hair and a brilliant smile.

“What are you wearing, you wanker?” Bernard demanded.  “Is that foundation on your face?”

“Oh, piss off, you old faggot,” Sean said, and punched him in the arm.  Bernard was reminded that he liked Sean immensely.

“Anyway, we’re at the pub,” Sean went on.  “Want to come?”

Bernard was just about finished packing up for the night anyway.  “By all means,” he said, “Lead on!”

Half-way there, Bernard realised he didn’t know who “we” was.  He would have felt like a nonce asking now, so he resolved to wait and see.  There was some cause for concern that it was going to be a tarted-up, regrettably young woman who would climb Sean’s leg all night, and he would have to keep shouting over the top of her head to have a conversation.  That could be an occupational hazard of socialising with Sean, as he recalled.

***

It wasn’t a young woman meeting them at the pub.  It was Viggo, whom Bernard hadn’t seen in years either. 

Viggo was grey at the temples, but just the same otherwise: his clothes had absorbed so much oil paint and miscellaneous filth that they hung strangely, and the sole was flapping off the bottom of one of his boots, so that his hairy toes made an appearance as he tapped his foot.  He was holding court among a group of younger men at the bar, and you could tell he was saying something characteristically weird – they were all standing around, amused enough, but in attitudes of This geezer is bonkers. His face, as he spoke to them, flitted from handsome to odd-looking between one expression and the next, as it always did.

Viggo looked up and nodded at Sean, across the room.  Then his face creased with surprise at the sight of Bernard.

They converged in the middle of the floor.  Viggo shook Bernard’s hand in that big, theatrical American way, and they all got drinks and sat down.

“Bern’s doing King Lear as a Nazi!” Sean announced loutishly.

“I’m not King Lear as a Nazi!” Bernard exclaimed.

“What’s the moustache for, then?”

“Not every moustache is a Hitler moustache, you lunatic. It’s a mid-century moustache for a mid-century King Lear.”

“It’s a great moustache,” Viggo said.  “Vigorous, you know?”

“Sign of masculinity,” Bernard agreed with a wink.

Sean snorted.

“I’ve had some great moustaches,” Viggo said.  He stroked his top lip wistfully.  “I had a horseshoe for Alatriste.”  He mimed stroking the tails of it down to his jaw.  “I liked to sit down in the evening with a glass of wine and talk to it, sometimes.  I felt it had wisdom.” 

“I’ve had a few over the years,” Sean said.  “But I think I prefer my enormous penis.”

“Pretty sad when a man can’t grow a decent moustache, so he futilely tries to compensate with his penis,” Bernard said. 

He cut off Sean’s reply by turning to Viggo.  “So what are you doing in London, old son?” he asked.

“Don’t you want to talk about my penis?” Sean said.  Bernard studiously ignored him.

“Oh, a little art,” Viggo said.  “Not too much.”

“It’s a great penis,” Sean said.

“You’ve done a few films recently, yeah?” Bernard said.

“Yeah,” Viggo said, “not for a while.”

Bernard saw Viggo and Sean look at each other for a second, then look away again.  It was pretty clear that he was missing something, but he didn’t know what to ask.

Sean stepped into the breach.  “I spoke to young Dom Monaghan the other day,” he said.

Then the gossip train was off and running.

***

Sean was a hooligan at heart.  The years had not wearied his inability to accept the calling of last drinks without bellowing like a wounded bull.  The bar staff had to inch them out the door gradually in stages, waiting for Sean’s high spirits to subside for a minute so they could shuffle him a bit further along.  Outside on the street, he bellowed again, turning the full force of the foghorn on Bernard.  “Come back for a whisky!  Back for a whisky!”  

“Alright, mate, alright,” Bernard said.  Sean clapped him violently on the shoulder, and they set off, barrelling down the street.

Bernard had a sudden worry about Viggo – had they just left him on the pavement without saying goodbye?  But when Bernard looked around, Viggo was trotting along behind them, not needing to be asked.  There was something even odder than before about this.  But Bernard had a few beers in him, so he put it aside as a bit beyond him.

***

The place where Sean was staying seemed like one of those generic fully-furnished flats that agencies let short-term to visiting executives.  It was all white and grey and chrome, and it would have had that air about it when it was empty: simultaneously posh and dull as dishwater.  Of course Sean had made a complete disaster area of it.  There were half-read newspapers and scripts, half-eaten packets of peanuts and other bits and bobs everywhere.

What was all that stuff in the corner, though?  It looked like a stack of newspapers all torn up into squares.  And two plastic buckets.  And a bale of straw? 

In the other corner was a drawing easel.  And on the sofa, when Bernard went to sit down, was a blackened tin of oil pastels.

Viggo made an apologetic noise and moved the pastels onto the coffee table, then threw himself down on the sofa, like he lived here.  Which obviously he did.

Sean started pouring them whiskies, and asked Bernard how he took his.  He didn’t ask Viggo how he took his.  Obviously, he already knew. 

Bernard was an absolute fucking moron

He’d walked in on them snogging once, on a dark balcony at a house party in New Zealand, all those years ago.  They were all drunk to hell and he’d thought nothing of it.  He sympathised with the urge himself: he would have fucked a lot more men over the years himself if he could have been sure the press wouldn’t get hold of it.

It had never occurred to him that they’d actually got together.  Not just that they’d got together: that they were still together now.  Christ: that was longer than he’d been with his ex-wife.

He thought about it again: seeing them on that balcony.  Viggo’s thick thigh wedged up against Sean’s balls; Sean’s hand twisted hard in Viggo’s hair.  Had they gone somewhere and fucked that night?  Or maybe neither of them had been with a bloke before; maybe they had to sort of sneak up on the issue: maybe there were weeks or months spent horny and confused, torturing each other. 

One of the many reasons to be thankful for the passing of youth was that Bernard only tended to get a half-mast unexpected erection, if he were going to get one at all.

Sean came and sat down with the drinks.

Over Sean’s shoulder, there was a Sheffield United Blades team poster stuck on the wall – clearly Sean’s handiwork, as it was wonky, and the sellotape he’d used was going to damage the paintwork.  Fantastic mythological faces had been drawn on to the players’ heads in black texta – which could only have been done by Viggo.

“You two have kept this quiet a long time, haven’t you?” Bernard said.

They seemed to know what he meant right away.

“What, our scandalous homosexual relationship?” Sean said, hamming up his accent till he sounded like a querulous old Sheffield coal-miner who thought the word ho-mo-sexual might explode if pronounced too casually. 

“That’s the one,” Bernard said.

“Well, there are advantages to living like a gypsy,” Viggo said.

“Yeah, no one knows where he’s supposed to be.  And he doesn’t mind if I chase a bit of tail and get it in the papers.  It throws people off, and it’s a bit of fun, really,” Sean said.

“Really,” Bernard said.

“Bit of tail.  Or a bit of something else.”  Sean looked Bernard up and down salaciously.

Really,” Bernard said.  He realised, embarrassed, that he probably sounded a bit keen.  They were just joking, after all.

***

They weren’t just joking. 

Christ Almighty, Viggo was an attractive man, once you got the bloody awful clothes off him.  He had an arse you could crack walnuts in.   It was lily-white just now – he obviously hadn’t been taking his kit off in movies for a while, or he’d have gone to the solarium – and Bernard’s cock looked lividly purple and dirty as hell, crammed into him from behind.  

Viggo reached behind himself and tangled an arm with one of Bernard’s, tugging him forward, urging him to hurry it up.  It seemed he might well get himself smacked about if he didn’t give it to Viggo good and hard. 

God.  There was nothing on earth nicer than a man who really loved to be fucked in the arse.

Viggo also loved to be fucked in the face, as it turned out, and Sean was having an enthusiastic go at it, kneeling in front. 

Considering Sean as a prospective shag had always felt a bit incestuous to Bernard – it seemed like they were too much the same sort of bloke.  But Sean was looking good, really good, right now.  He had obviously been getting his kit off for work recently, unlike Viggo, because he’d certainly been to the solarium, and the gym besides.  He was solid, hairy, butch and brown as a loaf of bread, as he arched his back to get his dick deeper into Viggo’s mouth. 

Viggo made avid little noises whenever his throat was free enough to manage it.  The line of his spine was rigid.  He would thrust erratically back and then surge forward, as if he could not decide which of Bernard or Sean he wanted more of.

Bernard convulsed so violently when he shot his load that he had to lurch off the bed and stagger around the room for a bit to sort his back out. 

“Bloody old codger,” Sean heckled.  “Get over here and suck this.  He’s tired.”

“Yeah,” Viggo slurred, and flopped over onto the mattress.  He’d already got off a while ago.

“Alright,” Bernard said brusquely, “I will.”  He stalked back to the bed and shoved Sean’s shoulder so he fell over flat on his back.  The air whooshed out of his lungs with an oof.

Bernard went to work with a smile.  The incestuous thing, he had realised, was actually bloody brilliant

Bernard didn’t precisely get a good night’s sleep afterwards – three fairly hefty old blokes in a bed was a tight squeeze – but there was something so bordering-on-the-hilarious about the whole situation that he enjoyed it anyway.  He had a terrible urge to call someone they all knew, someone like Ian McKellen, and say, Would you believe I’m naked as a jay bird, in bed with Sean and Viggo?  He imagined Ian retorting, Of course you are, you old perv.  And then he’d have to argue, laughing, that he was, he really was.

***

He woke to see Viggo standing at the window with just his jeans on, painting his fingertip over and over along a stripe in the condensation on the glass, with intense concentration. 

He was beginning to remember something that he suspected he once knew quite well, but seemed to have lost touch with as the years passed.  It was this: Viggo was completely barmy. 

Sean was awake, too, and was propped on his elbow, watching Viggo.  “What’s it like shagging someone who’s totally mental?” Bernard said to Sean, mock-seriously, making sure his voice carried.

“Oh, it’s a lot of the old Yes, dear manoeuvre,” Sean said, grinning.  “You’ve got to remember: I’ve been married to women who reckoned they didn’t like football.  I’m a veteran.  You want to pluck a chicken and then make it run around in a cage with a sculpture made out of its own feathers and your own snot, and…”  He paused to think for a minute.  “And there’s a bloody great sign on the top that says, Jupiter, Jupiter, Jupiter?  Well, that’s just fabulous, love.  You go right ahead.” 

Viggo brushed off his hands.  He wandered, seemingly vaguely, towards the bed.  Then, at the last minute, he lunged over Sean like a wrestler, straddled him and pinned one of Sean’s wrists to the mattress.  Staring Sean in the eye, he pulled the covers back with his free hand, seized Sean’s morning glory and started wanking it vigorously.

“I don’t believe in animal cruelty, as you know very well,” Viggo hissed.

“What about human cruelty?” Sean panted back.

“You’re big enough and ugly enough to look after yourself,” Viggo replied.  It sounded like a phrase he’d got from Sean.

“Me?” Sean protested.  “I’m helpless as a lamb!”

Bernard couldn’t help barking a laugh, then.

“And you,” Viggo said rather sharply, “have a big mouth.”

Abruptly, he got off Sean, and shuffled on his knees over the bed towards Bernard.  He stared Bernard in the eye in the same half-threatening way he had Sean, thumbed his button-fly open, took out his cock and climbed over Bernard’s chest.

So that was how Bernard ended up with Viggo riding his face with an arousing air of vengefulness, while Sean tried to suck his dick clean off.

After that, he lay back on the bed limply.  He had Viggo’s jizz in his moustache – he rubbed it weakly on the back of his hand.  “You’ll have to issue an eviction notice if you ever want me to leave, now,” he sighed.  “Fetch the bailiffs, maybe.”

Viggo slapped Bernard’s thigh cheerfully.  “Way too many chicken feathers in the hall closet, believe me,” he said, and wandered off, naked, towards the kitchen.

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