Fandom: Union J
Story Title: "Maybe Home Isn't A Place"
Character/Relationships: Josh Cuthbert/George Shelley
Warnings: There's one curse word.
Story Wordcount: 1,866
Disclaimer: I don't own anything. No libel intended.
Summary: Josh shares a movie, George shares his thoughts. Inspired by Josh's tweet regarding Remember the Titans and (aimmyarrowshigh) V's requests for Union J fic.
Notes: Title inspired by Stephanie Perkins' fabulous book, Anna and the French Kiss. This has not been beta'd, so I apologize for any glaring mistakes or inconsistencies. I am only just getting into this fandom, so this may seem awkward... Please give me any feedback or comments you might have! Also, this is a birthday present for aimmyarrowshigh, who is positively delightful and inspiring. Go send her happy wishes!
The door opens to a wide-eyed and grinning Josh, and George can’t help but smile back. He can’t resist a beautiful, infectious smile, and more than that, he can’t resist people happy to have him around. “Hey, mate,” he giggles as he’s dragged across the threshold.
“We’re watching a movie!” Josh declares, heading toward the television, bouncing on the balls of his feet. George smiles to himself; animated Josh is decidedly quite adorable – not, that is, that non-excited Josh isn’t adorable. It’s just that he’s normally the one dragging his band mates around, talking animatedly through his excitement.
“I thought we were going to –”
“I know,” Josh replies quickly, his smile dropping a bit as he pauses to look at him. “Do you mind?” he continues uncertainly, fiddling with the buttons on the remote. “It’s just that I watched this really good movie I thought you might like to watch?” He’s switching quickly from excited to hesitant, and it pulls at George’s heart strings.
“No, no, that’s fine,” he says genuinely. “What are we watching?” George asks, grabbing Josh’s arm to drag him onto the couch. He curls easily into Josh’s side, sinking into the cushions. He is entirely incapable of keeping to himself for extended periods of time anymore. The boys have spoiled him, in a way; he never really had anyone to cuddle up with, so now he takes advantage of any chance he gets. “Remember the Titans,” Josh says, turning up the volume as the movie starts. He wraps an arm around George’s shoulders, pulling him in.
There’s only two ways that George can watch a movie: talking, with a running monologue the entire time, or fidgeting, pulling on his sleeves and constantly moving around. He knows that most people can’t stand talking during a movie, but Josh isn’t most people. Besides, he has a feeling that he would tire of his constant movement faster than he would of his chattering. He doesn’t make a concentrated effort to stay silent like he might otherwise, just looks up at Josh occasionally, wondering if he’s tired of the commentary yet. From what he can tell, though, he doesn’t seem to mind. Every once and awhile, when he looks up, Josh will be looking at him, barely paying attention to the movie. George almost feels squirmy from the attention; it’s so much different from when he’s performing. He’s never quite gotten used to that intimate sort of critical gaze, but it’s not as though Josh is really being critical. Honestly, he looks curious, like he’s trying to figure something out from just watching his face.
They had originally planned on going out – celebrating all of their hard work and all – but he doesn’t have the slightest problem staying in like this. It’s a good movie, and he’s not going to say no to an opportunity to snuggle into Josh’s side. The atmosphere is relaxed, and it’s a nice change with all of the work they’ve been doing. He’s been spending a lot of time with the lads, but companionship retains a sort of novelty for George.
With the progression of the movie, he’s fascinated by the evolution of the relationships; it’s making him think about his relationships. He goes quiet the more he thinks, only half-following the movie. Finally, he murmurs into Josh’s hoodie, curled entirely into his side.
“Huh?” he responds, ruffling George’s hair. He leans into the touch, unable to resist the feeling of Josh’s fingers threaded in his hair. George doesn’t move from his position, face still smushed against Josh’s ribcage, but he mutters again, still incoherent. He’s already begun to rethink his comment. This is nice – watching a movie, curled up on the couch, talking the entire time - and he doesn’t want to drag it down, his thoughts an anchor to an otherwise fantastic afternoon.
George is expecting to receive the silent treatment when he hears a sigh. Instead, he’s stunned when Josh moves with startling speed to pin him to the couch. He can see that he’s trying to look serious – his eyes narrowed, lips pressed together – but the sides of his mouth are twitching and he’s failing miserably. He can’t focus on whatever Josh’s saying, because his eyes are a brilliant color of blue today and there’s this twinkle in them and he’s sitting on him, for fuck’s sake, and it’s all very distracting, so just shrugs in response, an awkward half movement with the way his wrists are being pushed into the couch.
Josh’s got this fond expression on his face, and it’s a bit startling, because other people are meant to get looks like that. Not him. He wants to disregard what he first said, what he was going to tell Josh. He considers conceding, but before he can open his mouth, he’s stunned by a pair of hands at his stomach, tickling him with purpose. George’s instantly wriggling, giggling uncontrollably as he tries to get back at him, but he’s not as ticklish, and all he can manage is to get his fingers around his wrists enough to push him back a bit. He’s having trouble breathing and Josh’s grinning like an idiot above him and he never wants to forget this moment.
Josh’s letting up a bit, so George takes advantage of the change in momentum to flip the two of them so that he’s on top. He’s no longer pinned down, hands wrapped around larger wrists, and though Josh is stronger and could definitely throw him off, he doesn’t. He just grins up at him, his eyes twinkling, and says, “What were you saying?”
He desperately wants to make a joke about the movie, laugh and be done with it, though he knows he hasn’t much choice in it now. He doesn’t like feeling this vulnerable when he knows it probably seems silly. He sits up, releasing Josh’s wrists, fingers going to his fringe, as he looks down, away from Josh’s face. He’s thinking, still in his lap, when Josh leans back on his elbows, searching his face. “Hey,” he says quietly, concerned, trying to meet George’s gaze.
He climbs off of Josh rather than respond, sitting cross-legged on the floor, lost in his thoughts. He has told Josh a lot; he’s told all three of them a lot. He’s still curious to see if there’s a limit to that; if at some point they won’t want to hear about his insecurities and doubts anymore. They’re been too good to him if he’s honest. And he knows that they wouldn’t lie to him; they don’t have any reason to, really. But it doesn’t stop the fear from niggling at the back of his brain. Josh mirrors his movements, sitting across from him, the movie playing on, forgotten in the background.
“George,” Josh says softly, his hands going to cup George’s face, fingers stroking across his cheeks. George reluctantly meets his gaze, mouth turning down at the corners. There’s a crease between Josh’s eyebrows and his lips are drawn together, and George hasn’t seen that kind of concern before. And he hates seeing Josh upset, even mildly, and it’s just making him feel sillier for making such a big deal about something that everyone else probably thinks is trivial. “What’s wrong? Just tell me,” Josh tries, again. George bites his lip, debating with himself. There’s no way Josh is going to let him play this off, not now. He should have just made something up.
“Please?” Josh looks earnest, fingers making soothing circles against his skin, and there’s no way he can’t tell him, really.
“It’s stupid, really,” he begins, looking down at his fingers, knotted in his lap. Josh increases the pressure on his face slightly, tilting his gaze back up, searching his eyes. “It’s just, they’re like a family, yeah? And that’s all I’ve ever wanted,” he continues, willing himself to look Josh in the eye. He swallows, before going on, ignoring the way Josh’s face has fallen slightly. “And now I have Jaymi and JJ. And I have you,” he says the last bit louder, more to himself than Josh, suddenly intent on getting everything he’s been thinking out. “And it just doesn’t seem possible, is all. You’re all amazing, and it’s like I don’t deserve any of this,” he adds in a rush, the words tumbling out before he can even process what he’s saying.
“I was told so many times that I’m worthless, and now it feels like I don’t deserve this, but I know that’s ridiculous, that everyone thinks I’m just being silly, but I don’t know how to get rid of this feeling because every time I think it’s gone, it comes back and tells me that I’m not good enough,” he says desperately, ignoring the burn at the corner of his eyes, focusing on the color of Josh’s eyes, the way they match his hoodie.
Josh looks slightly incredulous, as though he can’t believe what he’s saying, but he’s not laughing or telling him that he’s being stupid, and George is grateful. He doesn’t know that he could handle it, if he wasn’t taking him seriously right now. He opens his mouth, but shuts it quickly, forehead creasing as he thinks through his words. He tries, again, and manages to say, “We are your family, now, though.” And though George instantly wants to respond, Josh presses a finger to his lips, other hand still stroking his cheek absently.
“None of us thinks you’re worthless. You’re not just good enough. You’re incredible,” he continues, voice growing louder. George is slightly startled to see that he seems almost angry. But then his voice softens, and he looks like he’s willing him to understand, “You deserve all of this. You deserve more.” George has always felt uncomfortable under this sort of scrutiny, always hated being singled out. But Josh doesn’t make him feel the way other people do. “George,” Josh says quietly, like a sigh, looking heartbroken and exasperated and utterly exhausted. “You are the most amazing person I’ve ever met.”
George’s breath catches on that a bit because this is Josh. He never would have believed anyone like him would say such a thing. On a good day, he knows the lads like him, but Josh’s face right now, the look he’s giving him, is something else entirely. His hands have stilled, and he looks so solemn, so serious, that George can only take his words for truth. He doesn’t know what to say, so he just sits there, mouth gaping, watching as an uncertainty seems to come over Josh, making him worry his lip between his teeth. George wants to say so much, but thinks better of it, and settles on, a quiet, “Yeah?”
The worry that had settled across Josh’s eyebrows and at the corners of his eyes slips away, replaced by a brilliant smile, all white teeth and full red lips, and he breathes back an earnest, “Yeah.” George’s smiling back, cheeks dimpled, a hand going to Josh’s larger one on his cheek, lacing their fingers together. As Josh leans in, George thinks that he hasn’t just found his family. He’s found home, too.