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The Funhouse

Francesca de Sales

Ocean's 11

George Clooney/Brad Pitt


Thanks to Sffan for the very speedy beta. Not exactly a warm and fuzzy xmas story. Sorry about that!

Matt just wants to sleep.

The Funhouse

Lately, and by lately Matt means for the last several years, life has seemed like a funhouse. It’s not an original or clever thought, but that doesn’t make it any less true. Sometimes, when Matt closes his eyes, he sees himself fumbling through twisty, distorted corridors. He doesn’t know whether he’s coming or going, only that he’s going further into someplace he’s not really sure he wanted to be in the first place. What should be funny is scary, what should be terrifying just makes him laugh, and all around him, all he sees are distorted versions of himself magnified to infinity.

It makes him feel small and lost. And really, it’s bullshit, because this is Hollywood. Of course, he’s lost. Everyone’s lost. The winner is the one who loses it with the most style.

He’s sleeping now. Dreaming of mirrored walls that look like doors and doors that can’t be found no matter how hard he tries when he starts to hear a pounding, like someone is banging on a door. He instinctively runs away from the noise. He tries to make himself think about it, but then he remembers that this is just a dream and in dreams you run from the monster and really, what else could be making that noise?

It looks, at first, like it’s the right plan. As long as he runs away from the banging, the corridors straighten out, the mirrors fade, and he can see a door in the distance that he know leads out. But the closer he gets to the door, the more he slows down, and he turns his head back to listen for the pounding, and this time it doesn’t seem scary, but like someone is calling for help.

He stops, gasping for breath, vaguely wondering why his dream self is so out of shape. The door looks so inviting and he knows that if he goes through, everything will make sense and he’ll finally be free, but the pounding is starting to fade, and instead of being relieved, he’s suddenly terrified that he’s going to be too late, and he turns away from the door and heads back into the funhouse towards the monster crying for help.

And then he wakes up, alone in his hotel room, the dream quickly fading from his mind. All he can remember is that there was some place he was supposed to be and that he was afraid he was going to be late.

The room is perfectly silent, but Matt is tense, heart beating loudly. He’s waiting for something, but he has no clue what it is. And then the pounding starts on the door. Matt groans, and for a moment wants nothing more than to fall back to sleep and hope whoever it is goes away.

And then the pounding stops and that’s somehow worse. He can’t stand the silence. He can’t stand knowing that he’s out there just waiting to start pounding on the door again, so he swears and grumbles and forces himself out of bed and stumbles to the door.

He jerks open the door and is about to ask, “What the hell is your problem?” because he’s expecting it to be George and he’s expecting to see George smirking and laughing and dragging him off to get in trouble in ways that Matt couldn’t imagine before he met him. But the words die on his lips because George isn’t standing there, and for a moment Matt just gapes at the empty air and wonders if he imagined the whole thing

And then he looks down and George is sitting, slumped against the wall.

“How drunk are you?” Matt asks.

“Not drunk,” George says, his voice clear, but there’s something unfocused about his eyes.

“I guess you should come in,” Matt says and he reaches down to grab George’s hand and pull him up.

“How kind of you,” George replies and the tone of genial sarcasm is right enough that Matt starts to relax just a little a bit, but George stumbles and grabs onto Matt’s shoulder and he enters the room.

Matt frowns as he closes the door and looks at George with a raised eyebrow.

“I’m not drunk,” he says very clearly though he keeps his grip on Matt’s arm, “I get other people drunk.”

Matt nods because that’s mostly true. George likes chaos, but he likes to be the ringmaster, he never likes to be the actual show, but he’s never seen George like this before.

He looks tired, not the carefully crafted just came back from the party look that he has perfected, but old and worn out. George isn’t supposed to look like this. He’s not supposed to be mortal. It should be upsetting to see him like this, but Matt finds himself strangely flattered. No one ever takes off their masks in Hollywood. Well, they do, but only when they have another even more carefully crafted mask beneath. And Matt wonders what’s happened to him, that he can think seeing a man at his worst is actually a gift.

Matt tries to think of something to say, but it looks like it might not be necessary, George has already crawled onto the bed and passed out. Matt stares at him for a moment, unsure what do, not even entirely positive he’s awake, when a cell phone rings, breaking the silence and making him jump. He looks for his phone for a moment before realizing that it’s George’s.

“George, answer your fucking phone,” Matt orders.

George doesn’t move.

“I know you’re faking. Answer your damn phone.”

George makes the fakest snoring sound Matt has ever heard.

“Oh come on,” Matt says, unimpressed. He’s just about to shake George, to force him to either wake up or stop pretending to be asleep, when the ringing stops. Matt draws in a breath to say something and then the ringing starts again.

”This is fucking ridiculous,” he mutters and then starts searching for George’s cell phone. It’s the fact that George doesn’t react to Matt quickly patting him down and digging George’s cell phone out of his back pocket that makes Matt think something is really wrong. George smirks at Matt when Matt brushes against him in crowded hallways. He treated Matt to nine days of obscene comments when Matt had stumbled on set and had accidentally grabbed George’s ass on the way down. Matt groping George in a bed for whatever reason should have George barely able to contain his glee at being able to mock Matt for months to come about that time when he was in bed and Matt molested him.

He glances at the phone and rolls his eyes when he sees who called and that they’ve already called seven times.

“What the hell did you do to him, Brad?” Matt demands.

“Why the hell are you answering his phone, Matt?” Brad mimics back at him.

When Matt first met Brad, he had been in awe of him, had thought that beneath the shiny surface there were hidden depths just waiting to be discovered. Everyone thought that when they first met Brad. He’d let you think you were getting through, he’s give you a secret smile, or let just a bit of something like real emotion show in his eyes, and for a moment you thought that you’d be the one to finally see the real Brad Pitt. Then, Matt concluded that there was nothing beneath the surface, that Brad was just another Hollywood asshole, and any hint of depth was all an act. That was pretty much what everyone else ended up concluding, too. Yet, Matt couldn’t help, but like him because there was something there, it wasn’t hidden depths, more like a surface that went down almost deep enough. Right now, however, he wanted to reach through the phone and throttle him, but he resisted because Brad had tried to call George seven times and that was not like Brad at all. Brad called once, even for George, and if you didn’t answer then that was your problem.

“Hey, are you still there?” Brad asks, and his tone is a little less harsh.

“Yeah, just a little distracted,” Matt responds and then sighs, “I was sleeping.”

“Well good for you. Do you want a fucking prize?” Brad asks, sounding equal parts amused and irritated.

“I want to fucking sleep. Listen, what the hell…”

“I don’t know. Whatever you’re going to ask, I don’t know,” Brad responds, sounding tired.

“Well you must know something or you wouldn’t have called seven times,” Matt says, close to losing his patience.

“I was calling to talk to George, not to you,” Brad responds, not answering the question at all.

“Fine, whatever. I’m going to bed, and tomorrow, I’m going to kick your ass,” Matt says, giving up.

“You can try,” Brad says smugly and then after a pause, in an entirely different and softer tone, “Hey…”

“Yeah, I know. I will. Bye,” Matt says abruptly, but not meanly, and then turns off the phone and throws it against the wall. It makes a satisfying crack.

While Matt had been talking to Brad, George had moved from on top of the covers and was lying curled up under them, looking innocent, or at least like someone very good at acting innocent.

Matt smiles in spite of himself. “You big faker,” he tries, but George doesn’t react at all. He sighs and crawls into the bed next to George, hoping he’ll be able to fall asleep again. He smiles again when George moves closer and he feels a hand resting on his hip.

He falls right to sleep and for the first time in long time doesn’t dream at all.

When he wakes up, he thinks he must be dreaming because when he opens his eyes he sees a giant distorted face peering down at him, and then he blinks and wakes up a little bit more and realizes that it’s George. Matt groans.

“Wakey! Wakey!” George says cheerfully. Matt groans again and tries to bury his head under the pillows. He’s not ready to wake up yet. They’re not going to discuss last night, at least not in any sort of serious way and he’s not quite ready to pretend this is just another day.

George pulls the pillows away from him and yanks the covers off. Matt glares up at George and thinks that he probably looks better than he did the night before, but mostly Matt thinks that he looks bright and it hurts his eyes and he’d really like to go back to sleep.

“Come on, we’ve got things to do.” George says.

“What things?” Matt asks, but George isn’t paying attention to him anymore. He’s frowning and looking around the room.

“Where’s my phone?” George asks.

“I threw it against the wall,” Matt says and watches George for his reaction.

George just smiles, “Well, then, that’s one thing we have to do today, get me a new phone.”

Matt starts laughing. There’s really no other choice.

“I know you’d rather stay here and molest me in my sleep like you did last night,” George starts.

“I didn’t molest you. I was searching for your phone. And if you realized I was doing it then you weren’t asleep,” Matt protests.

“So you do admit that you were molesting me,” George says triumphantly.

For a moment, Matt just wants this all to stop. He wants to have a real conversation, be a normal person, if only for a little while because these games they all play aren’t nice, no matter how much they all smile, and people get hurt. It doesn’t matter though because he’s long past the point of really being able to give this up.

“If I was molesting you, you’d know,” Matt says before scrambling around to search for the covers.

“Is that a threat or a promise?” George asks with a smirk.

“Will you please just let me sleep?” Matt begs.


Matt smiles because really he wouldn’t have it any other way.


 Left By:
dirty diana (torri13)

2006-12-25 23:28:39

Oh, they're cute. And a little messed up, but mostly cute. I totally enjoyed this.

 Left By:
llaras (llaras)

2006-12-26 13:54:08

Oh, *hearts*. I love this. And them. And you.

 Left By:
Francesca de Sales (Fran)

2007-01-29 21:16:37

First of all, I want to apologize for not leaving feedback on this story earlier. I was travelling for a lot of Christmas, and once I got back, RL exploded in a very messy way. But I've been thinking about it, and finally have a chance to sit down and tell you how much I liked it!You've totally got Matt down. He's snarky but not mean, tortured and anxious, but not overly so. This line, "vaguely wondering why his dream self is so out of shape" is really just so perfectly Matt.I like that you don't go into detail about what happened between George and Brad. It's enough to know that whatever it was, Brad cares enough to call seven times, and George cares enough to get pretty fucked up about it. I love that he goes to Matt, because of that cast, Matt really does seem to be the most stable of all the pretty boys. Finally, you have a fantastic way with words! I read "And really, it’s bullshit, because this is Hollywood. Of course, he’s lost. Everyone’s lost. The winner is the one who loses it with the most style." and just stopped for a second to appreciate it, because it's really both brilliant commentary on the American entertainment industry, and because it's just so beautifully put. This is just such a nice look at Matt's inner demons, and the not-so-inner demons that plague Brad and George's relationship. Everybody's fucked up, but not beyond repair, and that's exactly how I like things. So, again, thank you!