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Superhero Etiquette

pesha (pesha)

Ocean's 11



Thanks to skripka for the awesome beta!

It's like they're having a moment, or rather it's like George is trying to have some sort of moment with Brad, but Brad doesn't do moments and he has no clue what to do.

Life has always been pretty easy for Brad Pitt. He's never pretended otherwise. He thinks maybe this is one of his good qualities, not that his life has been easy, but that he's never felt the need to convince anyone that it's been hard.

Brad is not stupid. He's knows that a lot of people think he is, but he can be smart when he wants to be. He knows big words and has the occasional big thought. It's just that in Brad's experience, people who use big words and share big thoughts tend to be assholes, and besides, Brad's never been big on the sharing thing, anyway.

Brad isn't big on introspection either. He can't think of five words that describe himself accurately. To be honest, he's not sure he even knows what he likes and doesn't like. He knows that he doesn't like conflict. He knows that he doesn't like people who try to make other people feel small. He likes being happy and he likes it when everyone around him is happy too.

He's knows there should be more: a whole lists of likes and dislikes, loves and hates, and dreams and fears. It's just that Brad's never been big on commitment, not to other people, not to ideas, and not to himself. How is he supposed to know what he's going to like five years from now or even five minutes from now? He's not really even sure what he likes right now.

Brad has tried to explain this all to George, but he doesn't think he did a very good job. George listened to him, and then laughed, and then called him a lazy fuck. Brad doesn't think he's lazy, he thinks it's more that he's just very Zen or some shit like that.

It's possible that maybe he's missing out on some things. Like right now. Two minutes ago he was in George's hotel room drinking and playing some weird sort of basketball using crumpled up pieces of hotel stationery and a trash can. Brad never bothered to learn the rules because George just makes them up as they go along. Brad had just made a spectacular off the ceiling, off the television, off George's head shot that should have been worth like a million points. George was protesting and saying that he had been out of bounds, and Brad had turned to argue and when he had looked over at George, he suddenly wasn't there anymore. Well, he was physically there, but Brad's friend, George Clooney the movie star wasn't there, there was just a guy sprawled on a hotel room bed.

It's like they're having a moment, or rather it's like George is trying to have some sort of moment with Brad, but Brad doesn't do moments and he has no clue what to do.

He knows that he doesn't like seeing George like this. It's like seeing a superhero without their costume on. Suddenly where he thought there was perfection, there's now a human being, someone with weaknesses and vulnerabilities, someone who can be hurt.

Brad is panicking because he knows that it's supposed to be his turn next and he's not wearing a costume. He isn't even wearing any underwear.

Brad doesn't really think this is fair. George isn't supposed to have hidden depths, George is supposed to be like him. There isn't supposed to be sharing time. Brad doesn't have anything to share. He hadn't known that George had layers, that all this time they had been friends, there had been another George hidden underneath. Brad doesn't have layers, there is no hidden Brad that he can share in return

Thankfully the moment passes. Brad blinks and when he looks again, his George is there. There's no more confusing vulnerability and openness. George says, “Tell you what, since you're being such a baby about it, I'll give you half points.”

Brad relaxes, bickers back and for with George about points, and pretends that everything is fine.

It's a lie though. Things are not fine and it's clearly George's fault. Brad doesn't know much about superheroes, but he's pretty sure George broke some sort of code. There's a reason secret identities are secret. There are reasons that Batman just doesn't tell Superman in the middle of a casual game of basketball: “By the way, there's more to me than you think.” If Brad was Superman in that scenario, he's punch Batman in the face.

He hates that things are different now. Every time he's with George, he's looking at him differently, searching for the man underneath, and he's not sure whether he's relieved or disappointed that the hidden George seems once again to be buried deep.

Brad can add something else to his list of things he doesn't like. He doesn't like losing, even if he's not exactly sure what it is that he's lost.

George is still his friend, but now it's like there's this space between them that Brad was supposed to fill and it's not that he doesn't want to, it's just that he doesn't have anything to fill it with, not even for George. And really, it makes him mad more than anything because things had been fine until George had broken superhero etiquette.

He has a whole speech ready for George about things that they don't do and expectations that they don't have, but he forgets it all when he's face to face with him.

George looks good, or rather he looks perfect, because George always looks perfect. He's holding a glass and he's smirking at Brad like everything is fine and something inside Brad just snaps, and that's a revelation in of itself because he didn't realize that he had anything inside that could snap like that.

He takes the glass out of George's hand and sets it down carefully on the table and George just watches him with an infuriating half smirk on his face. Brad wants, well he doesn't know exactly what he wants, he just knows that they're not exactly nice things.

George doesn't seem to mind. He's still smiling. And when Brad pushes him on the bed, he laughs like this is exactly what he's wanted all along.

They don't have sex. Well, technically they do, but Brad knows sex and this is something both more and less. It's never nice. They're aren't any soft touches and they almost never kiss. It's not about pleasure; it's about making a point. It's not fun, but Brad can't stop coming back. He's never wanted anything so much before in his life.

George seems to find it all hilarious. He never turns Brad away, but he never really lets Brad in either. He treats it all like just another game they're playing and that the scratch marks down his back, bruises on hips, and bites on his neck are just another way of keeping score.

Brad thinks it's possible that he might be just a little fucked up, but to be fair, so is George.

Brad never considers giving George up. George is his best friend and Brad's never had a best anything before in his life. The word 'best' always felt like it was putting too many expectations on something.

Sometimes things are perfect, like now when they're playing their favorite game: Escape the Paparazzi. They don't even have to talk beforehand anymore, George just smirks at him and Brad nods his head; and there are feints, false trails, anonymous phone tips that there are drunken starlets outside not wearing any underwear, and honestly they make it more complicated than it has to be because it's just more fun that way.

Later, after they've escaped and they're far away and high on adrenaline, George is laughing and saying that they're like super spies. Brad is laughing too and he wants this moment to go on forever. On impulse, he leans over and kisses George, but from the way George freezes and suddenly looks at him with serious, searching eyes, it was the wrong thing to do.

Brad backs away, but not before letting his fingers brush briefly across George's lips. It's the only apology that Brad can give him and he hopes it's enough. The truth is that if he had anything else to give, he'd give it to George.

George looks at him sadly for about half a second, but then he smiles, and throws his arm around and starts talking. Brad doesn't really listen to the words, but just relaxes and listens to his voice. Brad's not sure that he's winning whatever game they're playing, but at least he hasn't lost anything yet.


 Left By:
anr (anr)

2007-12-25 19:11:19

Very nice. I really like this characterisation of Brad.

 Left By:
skripka (skripka)

2007-12-26 01:57:55

I love this. And I actually feel a bit for Brad here, so yay!

 Left By:
pesha (pesha)

2007-12-27 02:56:58

I'm so sorry I haven't commented until now! I'm so amazed at how well-done this was from start to finish. Brad has more depths than he thinks and George is seriously *my* superhero. The best part for me was being able to really feel how the not!relationship he was having with George was turning into a sick sort of addiction for Brad. It feels addictive. I know *I* wouldn't want to give it up! *laughs* Thank you so incredibly much for this!

 Left By:
llaras (llaras)

2007-12-28 04:48:54

Oh, that last line. I love the bittersweet. This is gorgeous.