Around the corner, Percy stood, heart thrumming. He clutched his bobble to his chest, hesitating just out of sight. Everything about this situation felt wrong but what could he do? He hardly knew Monty…
The harsh lights washed out the hollow studio corridor, burning the afterimage of the two figures into the darkness behind his eyes every time he blinked. The man had grabbed onto Monty when he’d tried to brush past him. His arm was still clasped tight, holding him in place. The man was not much taller than Monty but the sudden slouch in his usually perfect posture made him look almost childishly small.
“Henry,” the man was whispering to him, steady voiced but somehow malevolent. “I noticed your absence from dinner again last sunday.”
Monty said nothing, his head ducked down and away from the man crowding him into the wall.
“Felicity even makes time out from her surgeries to visit and her job is actually important. What’s your…” the man trailed off and Percy stopped breathing.
“Are those women’s shoes?” he growled
Sure enough, Monty had spent the last week happily trotting in those same gold stilettos he was wearing now. The charity special had set the men the challenge of performing in heels, a task which had Percy feigning a twisted ankle most days.
“Father, they’re for-” Percy missed the rest of the platitude, reeling as he was from the idea that this was Monty’s father. There was so much wrong with this scene.
Monty had grown even smaller, crouched over to loosen the straps on his heels. Percy could see him fumble, hands trembling minutely.
“I don’t care what it’s for. Bad enough my son is a professional fairy, how do you think it looks when people see my son on television in women’s shoes. Don’t you ever think about anyone but yourself?”
Before he could even think to act, Percy’s feet were moving. He moved easily, as if he had just happened to be walking by.
Monty’s father looked up at him and when Percy paused mid-step, it was not acting. Monty had his father’s eyes but these were so much colder.
“Sorry!” he said as if he had been interrupting a conversation and not a scene so threatening it made him sick. Next he pretended to notice Monty, who had risen up out of his crouch, heels dangling from his fingers. He was looking distinctly away from both of them.
“Everything alright?” he said, hoping Monty’s father could hear the implications of his tone.
“Who are you?” Mr Montague demanded, impassive and unimpressed.
Percy offered him his hand. “Percy Newton, BBC broadcaster. You might have seen me on Blue Peter. I’m one of the guests this season.” As he spoke he could see how Mr Montague wrote him off. Percy wondered absently if he’d call him a fairy too. At least he’d taken the attention off of Monty. The sight of his curled shoulders was a jarring wrongness in the world.
Mr Montague apparently wasn’t one to shake hands. “I see,” was all he said. He had a signet ring on his pinky finger which glinted in the garish lights when he went to adjust his collar.
He turned towards his son, hardly bothering to disguise his apathy. “Henry, we will have words.”
Monty said nothing, he didn’t even move.
When he had finally disappeared from sight, Percy put a hand out. “Monty, are you alright?” There were a lot more things he wanted to ask, to say but felt trapped by their admittedly limited professional relationship.
Monty flinched and he drew his hand back. “Don’t touch me,” he said, flapping his hands. “I’m fine, I’m fine.”
“I said I’m fine, Percy. Jesus christ take a hint,” Monty growled. He still wasn’t looking at him.
“Okay,” Percy said easily. He wasn’t sure how to go from here, now that he’d seen a different side of Monty, the one without all the flash and flirtation. This Monty was someone more...delicate. He didn’t get the chance to say anything more, even if he could’ve found something to say. By the time he’d even begun to process any of this, Monty was already halfway down the corridor. Percy sighed into the emptiness after him and took a long drink of water, feeling unmoored in a way he couldn’t define.