Pairing: Jason/Alexander, Jason/Gwen
Summary: Alex's relationship with Jason is never straightforward.
Notes: Written for SweetPollyOliver
"Hey, listen to this: 'When you fell, Lazarus says, I was afraid that you died. Left us all alone. Left me alone.'"
Fred frowned over his packet of chips. "What is that?"
"Fan fiction. Fan gave it to me." Jason waved the bundle of pages around. "It's good stuff."
"It's never good stuff." Alex made a face. "It's only ever about two characters having sex." And those two were generally Taggart and Lazarus or Taggart and Madison. He didn't know why, but he'd read enough of it to know he didn't want to find out.
"Sometimes more than two." Jason sounded far too happy about that.
Alex rolled his eyes. He knew there were Taggart, Lazarus and Madison stories, but he absolutely didn't want to know the details. It was too strange to consider. "Why do you read it anyway?"
Jason shrugged. "Because the fans want me to to, so I do."
Which was exactly Jason's problem. Far too much feeding of his ego, which it didn't need.
Undeterred, Jason continued, "'After staring into each others eyes for a full minute, Lazarus and Taggart fell into each other's arms, their tongues duelling for dominance.'"
"Their tongues what?" Fred asked, his face scrunched up in confusion, as Gwen asked, "Should Tommy be listening to this?"
Tommy, now a teenager and therefore the perfect age to enjoy this sort of thing in fiction, while still being too young to enjoy it in reality, grinned.
Jason glanced at him and coughed. "'As Taggart led Lazarus to the bed they already both had bulges in their pants. Their uniforms ripped off, buttons flying everywhere, Taggart dropped to his knees to...'" He met Alex's gaze, a smile on his face and something else entirely in his eyes.
And Alex knew exactly why he was reading this particular part of this particular story. He tried a glare, which had as much effect as it always did, which was to say none at all.
"'to,' uh, 'to keep him warm.'." Jason's gaze didn't leave Alex as he read.
That was enough. Alex strode over to the door, throwing it open. It rebounded against the wall and nearly hit him on his way out. He raised a fist to give it a good thumping. It rebounded again, but this time Alex was out of its path.
A few strides was enough to get away from Jason and his suggestive looks. He slumped against the wall, eyes closed for a second. The stench of rotting food from the dumpster was overpowering, but still an improvement on the atmosphere in the Green Room.
Upon hearing the door open he was tempted to keep his eyes closed and pretend he wasn't here. But that allowed for the possibility of Jason coming closer to than Alex wanted. So he opened his eyes and stood up straight, his hands in fists beside his legs.
But it turned out to be Gwen. For her he shifted over so they could both stand in the shade. Even after all this time he hadn't got used to how hot LA was in the summer. It was a ridiculous time to hold a convention, but that was the tradition. And it wasn't as if it was much cooler the rest of the year either.
"You could ignore him," Gwen said after a moment.
Alex snorted. Jason made himself very hard to ignore. "I swear he gets off on this stuff. Of course the fans only give him their fan fiction. Not that I want any of it," he was quick to add, one hand up. After all, they'd tried with their stories about Lazarus, until Alex made it clear he didn't want to know any of it existed. "You know why he chose to read that one, don't you?"
Gwen nodded. "You need to--"
"Get away from him? I know that." Alex pushed off the wall and paced towards the dumpster, not noticing the stink any more.
It wasn't the first time they'd had this conversation. It generally happened at some point at every convention. Alex considered it a good weekend if they made it past the first day before having it. "It would be easier if I could get another job. I wouldn't need to do these convention appearances and I would never have to see his self-satisfied face again."
"You've had other jobs."
He turned back to face her. "Oh, yes, bit parts in science fiction shows. Playing the fish out of water guest star or the oddball character who's killed in the first five minutes of a murder mystery. But nothing long term. Nothing that's different to Lazarus. What's the point of being an actor if you only ever play one character?"
"I know." Gwen sighed.
Alex sighed too. He knew she'd had as hard a time of it as he had. "But you stopped. With Jason," he clarified, the question clear on her face. "How did you do it?"
She shrugged. "I realised I could do better."
Alex gazed out at the scenery: a parking lot and an uninspiring white, square building. " I'm not sure I can."
It all started at the first Galaxy Quest convention. They'd drunk the entire contents of Jason's mini bar and somehow Alex found himself with Jason's mouth wrapped round his dick. The next morning he couldn't remember how they'd got there, but could remember that Jason performed remarkable feats with his tongue.
By the time the next convention rolled around he'd spent nights dreaming about it, cursing Jason and wondering if he had been as good as he remembered. He vowed to drink less but somehow ended up tipsy with an empty mini bar, he and Jason in the same position. Jason being that talented only made it worse.
At every convention he told himself it was research. And drink. And a good time. He hated conventions, more so the more he relied on them to pay the bills. Especially when Galaxy Quest became more popular in syndication and there were multiple conventions a year. Which hadn't led to the acting jobs still picking up. Jason's mini bar and his bed were the a bright spot in the increasingly excruciating weekends.
Eventually Jason's ego broke the spell and Alex couldn't stand spending an entire evening with him, just for the benefit at the end.
And then they met the Thermians and Alex saw everything in a new light.
Alex kept walking, not caring how wet he was getting. He needed to get out of the hotel and it was London in November. Besides, the rain meant people didn't look up, so he was less likely to be recognised.
The scenery was not inspiring, however. The convention was in a hotel near Heathrow and he was walking along a busy main road past other airport hotels. Only the occasional McDonalds and cars kicking up spray he couldn't always avoid broke up the monotony.
It had taken a few years for Galaxy Quest to get big in in the UK, but once it had they started holding a yearly convention. The first few years Alex had delighted in showing his cast mates the sights, while they, being used to California weather, complained about the cold and rain. Alex, who complained the rest of the year how much he missed any season that wasn't summer, hadn't lost any of his innate Britishness and complained along with them.
This year was different. It wasn't London that had changed, nor was it the convention. The fans were the same too - sometimes Alex thought they only ever needed to do one convention, film it and play it back the next year and the fans would be just as happy. What had changed was them. Most of all Jason, at least according to Gwen, when Alex questioned her upon seeing her leaving Jason's room this morning.
Later that day she'd assured him Jason would be alone in his room this evening and happy to receive visitors. This visitor in particular.
"Why do you care?" he'd asked her.
"Because I care about you," she'd said, a hand on his shoulder. "I know you and Jason left a lot of things unfinished and maybe you'd like to clear the air, at least."
The air outside was thick with pollution from cars and planes, or so Alex imagined. He'd spent most of the years of conventions trying to avoid Jason without making it obvious what he was doing. Voluntarily speaking to him went against everything he'd been trying to do the last twelve years or so.
He'd left the hotel in an attempt to clear his head and make a decision one way or the other. Because Gwen was right. He and Jason hadn't been on the best of terms for years. He felt like their time on the Thermians' Protector had been enough, but perhaps a night of drinking would be what their friendship needed. If they were going to be friends again.
Jason had been different, this convention. He'd spent his entire Q&A session this morning praising the cast and crew. Then he'd invited Alex to join him on stage where they'd discussed the friendship between Taggart and Lazarus.
Any other time Alex would have dismissed it as a stunt. But Jason's words and actions were genuine - he wasn't that good an actor, no matter what he thought. Besides, Alex had enjoyed himself. Had felt nostalgic about the way they'd worked together on set. On the few occasions when Jason had kept his ego in check.
By the time Alex returned to the hotel he was wet, determined to go back to his room and stay there, and yet he found himself outside Jason's door. "Damn you," he said, half under his breath. Despite thinking about turning to leave, he found himself knocking instead and the door opened before he'd managed to take even a small step away.
"Alexander!" Jason's smile was broad and his eyes sparkling. It made Alex suspicious until Jason said, "Come in, I've opened the mini bar."
That was an invitation he was unable to resist, and Alex found himself inside Jason's room, taking off his wet coat and shivering.
Jason poured the contents of some tiny bottles into glasses, then frowned as he held one out. "You're all wet." Coming over, he raised a hand to Alex's hair and Alex stepped back automatically. An action he regretted given the wince he saw before Jason dropped his gaze to hide his face.
"Go take a shower." Jason waved a hand in the direction of the bathroom. "I'll order more drinks."
Alex hesitated for a moment, but a hot shower sounded good right now, so he went. Making sure to lock the bathroom door behind him in case Jason got any ideas. It had been years since they were alone in a hotel room together, but it already felt like no time had elapsed.
Of course he could have gone back to his own room to change, but he knew if he did he wouldn't return. And drinking on his own wasn't an appealing prospect. He could go to Gwen, but she'd tell him to come back here. Guy and Tommy were at the convention disco, and Fred had taken Laliari for a trip on the London Eye.
Jason's bathroom was the size of Alex's entire hotel room - nothing had changed there. But the shower was hot and powerful, and Alex definitely wasn't thinking about how much space there was in it.
When he eventually got out he found the rain had made it through every layer except his underpants. Fortunately there was a bathrobe on the back of the door that was big enough to cover everything. His clothes he draped on the heated towel rail to dry. Taking a deep breath, he stepped out of the bathroom.
Although Alex hadn't heard the door, he found an array of drinks set out on the desk. Delighted by the choice of a proper British beer, he chose one, opened the can and took a sip. He closed his eyes for a moment, savouring the taste, before sitting on the nearby chair.
"Good beer?" Jason was smiling from his position seated at the end of the very large bed.
Alex nodded and drank some more.
"So, uh, have you thought any more about the new series?"
He should have known that was going to come up and contemplated his beer.
"You know it won't be the same without Lazarus. He's everyone's favourite character."
Alex sighed. The commander was the most popular character, if the volume of applause he received every time he came on stage was any indication. But he had also seen how much Lazarus was loved, if the number of fans dressed up and asking for his autograph every year was anything to go by. And then there was Quellek, but he wasn't someone Alex wanted to think about right now. It was just as well that Jason was talking again.
"What, you don't want to do some proper acting again? Come on, I know you hate having to do conventions. This is a long-term acting job. And we'd all get paid the same amount, as an ensemble."
Alex snapped his head up at that. He did want to do some proper acting but he'd never been sure that Galaxy Quest had included any of that. It certainly hadn't included equal pay before.
"I know what it is, you don't want to work with me." Despite Jason's jokey tone, when Alex glanced over he saw Jason's smile was tight. Vulnerability was either something Jason never experienced or masked well. It threw Alex for a moment.
"It's not that."
"Then what is it?" Jason came over and leaned against the desk. Incidentally looking handsome doing it, which wasn't a help.
The trouble with Jason - one of many - was his tendency to hog the spotlight and make every scene about his character. And then pretend he wasn't doing anything. However, once 'action' was called, somehow he was the easiest person to act with. He gave Alex space to act and his ad libs made the show better. Especially on episodes where it felt like the writers were phoning it in.
Right now he was waiting patiently for an answer. Fortunately Alex did have a reason for hesitating that didn't have anything to do with Jason. Something that had been bothering him ever since the idea of re-booting the show had come up.
"You realise the Thermians are going to copy everything?"
Jason nodded. "It's fine. We'll be the executive producers. All of us. We'll only act scenes we're proud to show the Thermians. And Dr Lazarus doesn't do or say anything without your approval." He waved a hand in emphasis.
It was a tempting offer, with one massive drawback. "I don't have any money. None of us do." Except you, he didn't add.
"But the fans do." Jason leaned closer. "Ask them to contribute and we'll raise millions. All they have to do is to trust us to make the show great."
The fans were far too trusting, but it was a good idea. Annoyingly. Given the amount the fans spent on convention attendance and merchandise, they were bound to have enough to finance the whole thing between them.
"What have you got to lose?" Jason asked softly, resting a hand on Alex's shoulder.
The answer to that, Alex thought, was probably his clothes. The trouble with Jason - another one - was that he was charismatic. He made a suggestion and people went along it. And Alex wasn't immune to that, much as he wished he was.
And yet he'd be crazy to turn the offer down. He wouldn't have to worry about money for a while, which would make a nice change. And Quellek would have liked it. He sighed. "All right."
"Great!" Jason grinned and shifted his arm to squeeze Alex's shoulders.
It meant they ended up with their faces inches apart. Time stopped as Alex gazed into Jason's eyes. Alex's heartbeat sped up. If Jason kissed him he didn't know what he'd do. He didn't know what he wanted to do. Did he even want Jason to try and kiss him?
In the event, Jason pulled away after a few seconds, returning to his seat on the bed, giving the appearance of not noticing anything. Did he not feel anything or was he a better actor than Alex gave him credit for?
"Of course we'll just be colleagues," Jason said.
Alex blinked. "Is that what you want?"
Jason shrugged. "Isn't it what you want?"
Spending time around Jason this weekend made that easier to answer. He joined Jason on the bed, sitting beside him. "You can't know someone this long and not be friends with them."
Jason smiled. "Just friends?"
If he'd been thinking clearly, Alex would have said yes, finished his drink and left, even if his clothes were still wet. But in that moment Jason seemed so unlike the man he'd known for twenty years. Yet still the same man he'd spent countless nights with in hotel rooms around the world.
Before he could think about it, he leaned over and kissed him.
Jason kissed back, hard and passionate, as if the years in between had never existed. Which was a problem because he'd sworn off this years ago. And yet he'd somehow ended up back in the same situation. It didn't matter how much Jason had changed, he couldn't let Jason drag him back into his orbit again.
When Jason reached for the cord that held his robe closed, Alex broke off and stood up, tugging the robe tighter around him. "I can't do this."
Jason frowned, but Alex couldn't look at him any more, in case he changed his mind.
"I can't be alone with you." He fled, not caring about the clothes he'd left in the bathroom.
"Everyone, Alexander has some news." When the chatter had quietened down, Jason waved an arm in Alex's direction. "Go ahead." He perched on the arm of the sofa, grinning as he focused on Alex.
It was Jason's holiday party. He'd held them every year while they were filming the original series, but back then they'd been filled with anyone who had been on the show who was pretty and didn't hate Jason yet. Since that was an ever-decreasing number, but the place was always full of people, perhaps some of them were desperately hoping to return to the show. Alex had never been sure exactly what it was that made them show up. He usually found that drinking a lot helped him get through it. For at least as long as politeness dictated, before a few of them went to a local bar for the rest of the evening.
This year was different.
There was still plenty of food and drink, but it was only the seven of them. Much more civilised, easier to talk and no need to commiserate with Gwen over how many people Jason spent the evening wrapped around.
At Jason's invitation Alex stood, holding his glass in both hands. All eyes were on him, eager to hear his news. He smiled a little, looking forward to their reactions. He and Jason had agreed to keep it a secret while they worked out the details. The trouble with having five executive producers was that making decisions by committee took ages.
"Dr. Lazarus will be returning to the show in season two."
Alex let the chorus of surprised and happy exclamations die down before continuing. "Turns out I missed acting too much. And the fans--"
He was surprised by Gwen hugging him. He had missed being on set with these people every day. Only coming in for two episodes to direct wasn't the same.
And the fans... well. He'd had so many letters from people who'd had trouble in their lives that had been eased by watching Galaxy Quest. He had found it unexpectedly heart-warming, in a way he hadn't before. But what had really charmed him was those who compared it to good literature; who picked out the themes mirrored in Shakespeare and found something in the show that Alex never had.
"But Lazarus is dead," Laliari said, frowning between Alex and Fred.
Fred touched her arm while Alex nodded. "And he's staying dead." He didn't want to give the Thermians false hope.
"He's going to be a clone," Jason put in, excitedly, half-standing up.
Alex glared at him.
"Sorry." Jason raised his hands and sat back down. He had changed: the old Jason would never have stopped, let alone apologised.
"The season two opener will be a two parter where they find a group of aliens has cloned Lazarus for nefarious means and the Protector rescue him. But he has no memories of the real Lazarus's life. We'll spend the season with the crew getting used to him and him getting used to them."
"That'll be... different." Tommy didn't sound sure about the idea.
"It's going to be fun." Guy's enthusiasm was infectious and Alex smiled at him.
"We can make some changes for season three, if we need to." Jason stayed seated this time.
"If we get one." As always, Alex was the voice of pessimism.
"Of course we'll get one." Jason rose to clap Alex on the back.
Everyone fell to discussing it, Jason in particular outlining how much it'll mean all of their characters get to do. Alex, having said his bit, let Jason talk.
Gwen stepped closer to Alex, her eyes piercing. "The new, cloned, Lazarus could decide to leave the Protector at the end of season two."
Alex gave her a small smile. "We'll see." One season had been easier to agree to. After that he'd decide if he wanted to sign up for another year.
She frowned. "But you and Jason have been getting on so well."
He glanced over at Jason, who was holding the rest of the room rapt. "Only because we don't see each other every day."
"Nobody's perfect," she said, her brows furrowed. "But he's really trying."
"I know," he said, a little wistfully. It had all been easier when it was just sex at conventions, but now they were really friends, it all felt different. And Alex wasn't sure he liked it.
"So...?" She invited him to say more, but he was saved by Jason coming up on his other side.
"I think that went well. Season two is going to be great." He slapped Alex on the back again.
Alex shook his head, not because he disagreed with him, but because Jason's optimism could be a bit much at times. However, he said, truthfully, "I am looking forward to it."
"You should come by more often." Jason's tone was conversational, as he looked out across his living room "I miss you on set."
Gwen put a hand on Alex's shoulder then drifted away to where Guy was enthusing about what Lazarus's return meant for ship's security.
Alex didn't react and kept to the same tone as if they were discussing nothing more emotional than the weather. "We don't have to work out the details of Lazarus's return any more."
"I don't mean for that. All these times you've been over and I can never get you to stay. We don't even talk about London."
Now he turned to Jason. "Since when have we ever talked about anything?"
Jason opened his mouth, closed it, then announced, "I've got a bottle of champagne I've been saving for a special occasion. And this is a special occasion." He followed it up by grabbing Alex's arm and leading him to the kitchen.
"I didn't mean now." Alex pulled his arm from Jason's grasp but continued walking anyway.
Jason looked back over his shoulder. "If not now, then when?"
Alex would have chosen 'never', if he could, but since they were going to be spending more time together when they started shooting the second season in the new year, perhaps they should clear the air. For one thing, he didn't know how many more times he could refuse Jason.
However, it wasn't until Jason had his back to him as he fetched the champagne that Alex could say, "More than friends."
"Huh?" Jason turned his attention away from the bottle he was clutching and focused on Alex.
Alex kept his gaze on the bottle. "In London you asked if we were just friends. I didn't answer."
"No, you kissed me and left." Jason sounded hurt about it.
But Alex ignored that. Jason was capable of sounding hurt at the drop of a hat - he'd seen him in action many times when he thought it would convince a guest star back to his trailer. But he also knew that he'd been a coward in running away and Jason would be justified in hating him for it.
"I got scared," he admitted in a whisper. "I didn't want things to go back to the way they were."
"Neither did I," Jason said quietly, to the bottle.
Alex watched as Jason went over to the counter and set the bottle down. He had it open before Alex spoke. "Gwen said you'd changed but I needed to be sure."
"She always was better at giving me the benefit of the doubt than you were." Jason began pouring the champagne in glasses already lined up on the counter.
Alex frowned, wondering if the champagne and chat hadn't been as much of a spur of the moment thing as Jason had made it sound.
"You know she and I are together." He tilted his head towards Alex, who nodded in reply. "You don't mind?"
"God, no. You'd be insufferable if I had to deal with you on my own."
"That's what she said."
Alex couldn't help laughing at Jason's wide-eyed frown. If he couldn't work it out for himself Alex wasn't going to explain.
Instead he placed a hand on the bottle as Jason set it down, his fingers overlapping Jason's and took a deep breath. "I want more than just sex."
"Good." Jason met his gaze. "Because that's what I want too."
"I left because I've been afraid of hating myself for it." And Jason, but it didn't feel like the right time to say so.
Jason took their hands off the bottle and held on tight. "You don't have anything to worry about." His eyes never left Alex's
It took a moment before Alex gave into temptation and kissed him. Again. This time Jason's lips were soft, not asking for anything more.
Alex drew him closer and wished he hadn't waited a year to have this conversation.