zaubra: (jk girl read)
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I've been putting off posting my recent fic, but it needs to be done before I fall completely behind. I'll post the Leveson inquiry fic once it's finished, but here are the Mandelborne ones for now.

Fandom: UK Politics
Title: A Quite Interesting Tale
Ship(s): Peter Mandelson/George Osborne, Stephen Fry/Alan Davies
Word Count: 950
Rating: G
Summary: After seeing Peter flinch at the sight of George Osborne's picture, Stephen is determined to winkle the truth out of him and then offer advice. But what Stephen finds may surprise him... Can also be found here at the meme.
Disclaimer: This is a creative work of fiction, composed of fictional characters inspired by the public personas of living people. No injury or disrespect is intended to the persons named. If you've found this by googling yourself or someone you know, stop playing on the Internet and go run the country.

A Quite Interesting Tale

“So,” Stephen says casually, leaning against the wall of the QI green room, “what is all this with George Osborne?”

Men can hide many things. The Dark Lord’s face doesn’t stir a muscle; even his mouth doesn’t tighten. “I beg your pardon?”

But Stephen knows what he saw in the studio earlier, under the bright lights and in front of the cameras, as a silly Photoshopped picture of the Chancellor of the Exchequer in a party hat flashed up onto the screen without warning. Men can hide many things, but the stiffening of his shoulders gave this one away – Stephen has seen that particular reaction too many times to be mistaken. Something is going on, whether for good or ill, and Stephen would very much like to know what.

Stephen raises his eyebrows and gives the Prince of Darkness his best innocent look. “You flinched at the sight of his picture.”

‘Flinch’ might be overstating it a little bit, but then tPoD can’t know that for sure, can he?

tPoD – all right, perhaps Stephen should call him Peter; Stephen had after all once convinced him to pose for a picture wearing a ridiculous pair of bright red sunglasses, and anyone who has managed to make a man forsake his dignity that far has surely earned the right to use his first name – looks marginally uneasy.

Stephen dares to push further. He’s bored. Alan is entertaining Victoria Coren on the far side of the green room, and without Alan to make him laugh after a long day of recording, Stephen is like to grow a bit puckish. “Are you spinning against him at the moment and so afraid of his revenge that even a glimpse of his face frightens you?”

Peter raises an eyebrow. His stare deserves its own capitals – the Mandelsonian Glare. “I don’t know what you’re talking about,” he says, in what Stephen thinks is rather a prim tone. “I am retired from the business of spin, and I’m surely not afraid of George Osborne.”

But he has misjudged, and overcast. Stephen is no reporter, willing to be led by the nose if given a good story – no politician, blind to most of the world around him. He has been around the world, and he knows exactly what that tone and that look mean.

Not the eyebrow. Not the Glare. The softening of the name, and the gentling of the eyes.

Stephen nearly spills his wine.

“Are you all right?” Peter asks, all concern and solicitousness.

Stephen recovers himself, and rights his wineglass. “I am quite fine, my dear fellow. You, however...”

“I however what?” Peter says, sipping his water.

George Osborne,” Stephen says, with feeling.

Were Peter any other man, Stephen would be ready to swear that he’d seen panic in his eyes. But Peter is not any other man.

Still, Stephen decides to stop being so hard on the poor fellow. Perhaps no one has ever called him on it before. “You’re not the first man to fall for someone out of their reach,” he says, leaning in and lowering his voice into a confidential murmur. Out of the corner of his eye, he sees Alan turn his head, caught by the change in his lover’s manner. But Alan was busy with Victoria – a squirrel, that man is, distracted by anything shiny – and he can wait now. tPoD needs reassuring.

“I’m sure I don’t know...” Peter starts.

Stephen cuts him off. “You’ve clearly already fallen for him rather hard. Has he turned you down? Do you know for sure that he wouldn’t be interested?”

Peter’s eyebrow arches again. “Hope springs eternal?”

“That’s a canard,” Stephen says. “Hope dies, to be sure. But better to try and fail, than never to have tried at all.”

Peter looks at him over his water.

Stephen waves his hand about. “Ask him out to dinner. A nice, quiet dinner, where you won’t be disturbed. You know he’ll come, if only because he won’t be able to resist finding out what you’re plotting. And then, well, let whatever happens happen.”

Peter’s eyes go behind him, and his mouth curves. “As things have happened to you?”

Stephen has barely time to register the presence at his back before Alan is poking him in the side.

“As what has happened to Stephen?” Alan says, irrepressible in his curiosity.

Peter merely smiles.

Stephen rolls his eyes to the heavens. “Shoo,” he says, pushing at Alan’s shoulder. “You have guests to entertain. You see me every day.”

Alan’s grin manages to be both cheerful and roguish. “That I do.”

When Stephen turns back from watching him melt back into the panellists and VIP guests, he finds Peter watching him. That smile is still on his lips.

Belatedly, Stephen begins to wonder if he’s missed a trick.

“Excuse me,” Peter says. The light in his eyes is no longer slightly nervous, but what in a different man Stephen would call soft. “I have to go call someone.”

Stephen finds an incredulous smile beginning to pull at his own lips. “Someone waiting at home?” he manages, because he is nothing if not daring. Besides, he’s a national treasure, even tPoD can’t maim or kill him.

For a long moment, he thinks Peter isn’t going to answer him; he thinks Peter is going to walk out that door, and he’ll never know for sure what exactly has gone on tonight.

But then Peter turns, and looks over his shoulder, and arches an eyebrow, and Stephen knows, even before Peter opens his mouth.

“Yes,” Peter says, quite simply.

And then he’s gone, and Stephen is left smiling after him.

He drains his wineglass, and turns to look for his Alan.

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