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The Complete Fic Directory
- All I Do Each Night Is Rehearse The Pray Routine
- An Act Of Un-Remembrance
- Better Than Today - Kylie Minogue
- Breathe Out
- Christmas Shopping
- Default Settings/Do You Love Me? [Part One]
- Displacement Theory [Blue]
- DJ (I Could Be Dancing) - Alphabeat
- Ends (Loose And Otherwise) [Ends]
- Fine Time To Lose Your Mind - Jack McManus
- Flat Tyres And Palm Prints [Birth]
- Friends: A Dictionary [Friends]
- From Angels To The Moon/The Soup
- Green Light [Green]
- Hell Raisers
- Home Invasion
- In My Veins
- It Was The Death Of Something [Death]
- Just Like Children [Children]
- Kiss And Make Up
- The Last Time
- Lonely At Christmas
- Love Songs
- Midnight Sun
- Months Go By [Months]
- More Important Than Fear
- Muddied Stars [Brown]
- Not Enough
- Of Peacocks
- On The Subject Of Angels [Orange]
- Playing House [Parents]
- The Price Of Friendship
- The Prize
- Post-Match Analysis
- Secret Admirer
- Secret Agent Owen
- Shine - Skies Of America
- Slow Dancing In A Burning Room
- So Good To See You
- Stage Fright
- Stay (Oh Darlin')
- Study In Motion
- Summertime Feeling - S Club 7
- That Night In Amsterdam/Do You Love Me? [Part Two]
- Three Sets Of Three
- Twenty-Nine (And A Half)
- Under A Colourless Sky [Colourless]
- We Found Something That Belongs To You [Outsides]
- We Were Strangers Once [Strangers]
- What Did You Say This Time?
- What Will The Papers Say? [Purple]
- White Out [White]
- The Wordsmith/Breathe In
- Yesterday's Promise
- 3-0 Defeats
- Barlow's Music Shop Series
- Fanfiction Challenges
- The Postcard Prompts
- OT3, OT4 & OT5
- Stories By Band Member
- Stories By Ship
- Stories By Genre
- Stories By Era
- Band-Free AUs
- Prompt Requests
- Other Fandom Fics
- Follow Me
“I think I’m dying.” No-one looks up as Mark flops, face-first, onto the sofa.
“Again?” Gary enquires vaguely, not looking up from his phone. Mark has been ‘dying’ for the past three days and they’ve stopped being troubled by it. Jason sighs deeply and puts his book down, turning his head to regard Mark carefully. The smaller man is splayed out on the cushions in a convincing starfish impersonation and, to be fair to him, he does look tired. From his place on the floor Jason can just reach over and pat his leg.
“You’ll be fine, mate. Sleep it off.”
“Well I’m going to die of bloody PR overload soon,” Howard mumbles sullenly into his coffee, glowering at the clock as though it's to blame for the time of day they were woken up. In response Jason plasters his brightest, fakest smile onto his lips and flashes it in Howard’s direction.
“And a good morning to you, Sunshine,” he says in a rush of breath and forced enthusiasm, laughing when Howard shoots daggers straight back at him with blue eyes which are murky and shaded by dark curls.
“Don’t poke the bear, Jay,” Gary smirks, looking up from his phone at last to take in the scene. “So, Marko, what is it you’re dying of today?” He gets up and comes over to join Mark on the sofa, perching on the arm of it and smiling pleasantly as Mark rolls over onto his back, considering the question carefully.
“Today? Appendicitis. I looked up the symptoms and I’m pretty sure that’s what I’ve got.” Gary nods in a show of consideration and Jason smiles fondly.
“You said that yesterday about the plague,” Howard huffs, and Jason stifles a laugh.
“I didn’t say the plague I said...” Mark falters. Gary raises an eyebrow and he and Jason exchange amused glances. “Ok, I can't remember what I said. But at least I haven’t got a case of Moody-Bastard-itis,” Mark shoots back, tilting his head far enough back to make eye contact with Howard and beaming brightly. “I hear that’s incurable, right Howard?” His grin is toothy and content and for a moment a smile flickers in Howard’s eyes before he quickly purses his lips to hide any trace of it, pushing himself up out of his chair and making a beeline for Mark’s sofa.
“Right, you’re going to pay for that.” As Howard lunges, Jason leans instinctively out of the way whilst Gary simply folds his arms and watches the scene unfold as Howard sits on top of Mark, practically crushing him. Mark lets out a yelp and then squirms as Howard begins tickling him.
“Oh God, now I’m definitely dying!” he laughs and Howard grins before reaching over in an effort to muss up Mark’s perfectly quaffed hair. “Not the hair! Ohhhh no,” Mark lets out breathlessly as Howard lunges and he somehow squirms just enough to get out from under Howard’s weight, rolling himself down onto the floor and flopping back into his starfish pose. “And just so you know, mate, that’s not how you treat someone who’s dying of an appendicitis.” For a beat they're all quiet, Howard smiling slightly at Mark with a mixture of fondness and mischief. He glances up at Gary then, seeking permission to continue the battle. Gary smiles back and gives him the smallest of nods and Howard's grin widens and he turns to look at Jason, whose whole body has already tensed, making him sit up a little straighter. He's smiling too as he and Howard share a look , both already poised for action – because they know this game far too well.
“Jay,” Howard says to make sure they're both ready, and Jason’s blue eyes twinkle in anticipation as he nods back. Mark opens one eye, suddenly on alert again, recognising the tone in Howard's voice. He just has time to see Howard and Jason take in a breath as Gary straightens his posture behind them.
“Get ‘im!” Gary calls the order then and Howard and Jason spring in dancers’ unison before Mark can even think about scrambling away. Jason lands first, perfectly centred in the middle of Mark’s back. Mark just has time to let out a tiny ‘Uff!’ before Howard lands, a little more messily, on top of Jason, slightly at an angle, his hair in his eyes as his face appears close to Mark's. Howard and Jason are both laughing by then and Mark tries to look cross with them, but all dignity is gone as he lies flattened on the floor and by the time he feels Gary squash down on top of them all he’s giggling too, so much so that his cheeks are hurting.
About five minutes later they’ve finally regained composure and are attempting to act like proper grown-ups by trying to disentangle themselves. That’s when they hear another voice from the door.
“Hey, you didn’t start without me did you?!” Robbie sounds genuinely outraged, and before any of them can do anything he’s flopped down on top of them. A collective ‘Uff!’ goes up from the four of them and Gary mutters ‘Bloody hell, Rob, what did you have for breakfast?’ as Jason groans softly somewhere around Howard’s shoulder, though they can no longer see his face. “That’ll teach you all to start the fun without me then,” Rob beams, seeming proud of himself. “So – what’s Markie dying of today?” he asks.
“Appendicitis,” the four men chorus, before Mark begins to splutter and they descend into laughter once more.