It perhaps wasn't something Mads would have made time for had John - one of the promo team for Mads’ latest movie - not invited him along. But from the opening scene of Venus in Fur, he was enraptured.
Hugh Dancy as Thomas Novachek was a perfect mixture of annoyed, salty and devastatingly alluring. Totally his type - which of course Mads immediately dismissed. Firstly, this was a character and secondly, it was best not to indulge these things these days.
Both Dancy and Nina Arianda were amazing, and did such a great job of enthralling the audience - an amazing dynamic. Given that the play relied on the pair of them, it was essential that they could carry it. And they did more than that. Mads could barely tear his eyes away from the scenes before him, and especially from Dancy.
He knew the name, strangely enough, as they had both auditioned for the same movie. Both actually been cast in King Arthur, but when the movie was pulled at pre-production before filming had even started, so they had never met in the end.
When Mads' agent had sent him that script to read, he had told him the names of the actors already attached and Mads had looked them up, out of interest. Dancy had been on that list with a couple of others he was only a little familiar with. Mostly Brits, with the exception of his fellow Viking, albeit Swedish - Stellan.
He might not have really remembered, it had been quite some years earlier and it had never happened in the end, but the instant he saw Dancy he remembered him. He looked like he had barely aged, though he no longer had the curly hair and doe-eyed innocence of the publicity photos and such that Mads had seen of him back then. He remembered him because his pictures had been captivating - his eyes a varying green or blue depending on the lighting, his face capturing the sort of youthful beauty that the Greeks had immortalised in marble.
Mads was mesmerised by him as much then as he was now. His beguiling performance, his beauty. There was something almost untouchable about him and his talent. When Dancy - Novachek - was on the verge of kissing Vanda, Mads found himself willing it and, licking his own lips - wanting to be a voyeur to the moment.
He was still utterly consumed when the play ended and everyone stood to applaud. It took him a moment to do the same, but then he did so enthusiastically - feeling like a rather ridiculous teenager with a crush.
"We're meeting Hugh and Nina after this if you want to come." John, asked as the applause ended and the audience started to leave. John knew Nina from a previous project - the reason for them coming to see the play in the first place. And now Mads was so glad he’d agreed to spend his last night in New York watching this play.
All the same, he tried not to seem too enthusiastic when he agreed.
Mads was usually happy to be the life and soul of any party, but found himself hanging back, contenting himself with sitting in the quiet bar with the few fellow actors and simply enjoy the company. And, truth be told, enjoying watching Hugh Dancy.
The man was utterly captivating and his smile never seemed to fade. Mads thought he might be content to watch him all night, but then Hugh had dropped into the booth next to him, apologising and holding out a hand to shake.
They were a large group, various friends and hangers on made them a party of ten in the out of the way bar that John had selected. It was secluded and far enough off Broadway to avoid tourists and fans alike.
“Sorry, catching up with old friends. I didn’t mean to be rude. Hugh Dancy.” He introduced himself. John had already introduced Mads to Nina and various others as they had arrived at the bar, but Hugh had been deep in conversation at the time.
Mads shook the offered hand, warm and firm, as he gave a dismissive shake of his head. “No need to apologise. I am interloper.” Mads grinned and was rewarded with a wide smile in return.
“I recognised you of course, so perhaps some of it was… am I allowed to say I’m a little star struck?” Hugh chuckled and bit his lower lip. It was downright flirtatious and Mads felt his blood thrum. “I enjoyed you in Casino Royale.” He smiled, a warm and genuine thing between colleagues, but with an edge of something more - a twinkle in the eyes.
Mads nodded. “Thank you. It was… an experience.” He chortled. “Working in big budget movies is very different.”
His new friend nodded and his smile continued to be captivating.
Hugh couldn’t help but be drawn by Mads’ smile and the passion with which he spoke about things. They had spent the best part of an hour talking about acting, movies, and the stage productions they had worked on.
With each passing moment, Hugh felt all the more drawn to the man. It was nice to meet someone who was so enthusiastic about their profession in a way Hugh could relate to. And he couldn’t deny his attraction to Mads either - he was even more beautiful in person than Hugh had ever seen on screen.
And he seemed to have been in some interesting and compelling plays, it made Hugh regret never having seen him in one. He could only imagine how much larger than life the man must seem on stage. It was always more intimate than movies and television. A very different connection with the audience, that Hugh was sad to have missed.
“Maybe you’ll do stage work again some time.” He smiled and received a returned smile - a sort of dorky grin that Hugh thoroughly enjoyed as he continued, “you’ll have to let me know if you do. I’d love to watch.”
“Maybe.” Mads grinned at him and he was sure he wasn’t imagining the undercurrent between them. Not quite flirtation, but definitely some sexual tension that he was really hoping wasn’t one sided.
Hugh was a fairly down to earth guy and not one for being star struck, and this wasn’t that - no, it was Mads himself, rather than just his talent, that was making it hard to string words together every time the man grinned at him like a shark.
He’d looked pretty on screen - a memorably angular face that gave meaning to the saying chiseled by the gods. But in person, he was breathtaking and even god-like. Not just his looks but his quiet confidence and… there was something almost erotic about him. It was mesmerising and, after a while, Hugh started to chide himself - the sexual tension was likely just one sided, so he probably should let himself ruminate too much.
He let out a low chuckle at the thought - he was just been such a teenager over this guy.
Mads quirked a brow. “Something amusing?”
Hugh took a gulp of his beer and smiled, shaking his head. “No. Well, I was just thinking it would have been interesting had King Arthur happened.” Hugh quickly rejoined. It wasn’t so much a lie - he had been considering it earlier when he was first introduced to Mads and the thought came to him of the aborted production.
“Ah, yes. It would have been. Riding around together on horseback.”
“Two horses.” Hugh clarified with a chuckle. “One each. Unless the budget was an issue...”
“Yes.” Mads laughed and nodded. “You recall we would have been cast together then?”
“Yeah.” Hugh smiled. He’d had some knowledge of others who had been cast, and remembered Mads’ name amongst them. And as the evening had unfolded he couldn’t help but let his imagination flow down various avenues of what might have been, had they worked together those years ago. He was very sure he would have enjoyed Mads’ company and could imagine they might have had many evenings like this.
And… one of the more particularly imaginative avenues lead to…
Hugh swallowed and took another drink of beer to try and cool his heating cheeks.
At first, Mads had been worried about monopolising the man’s time, but as they had talked time had passed so quickly that the thought drifted from his mind. It was only when Nina interrupted to say she would see Hugh tomorrow evening, that Mads realised they were the only two remaining from the party - John having left with Nina.
“Do you need to go?” Hugh asked, a slight concern there. “Are you staying with John?”
Mads shook his head. “No, I have a hotel in the city. I fly out tomorrow evening.”
“Stay for another then?” Hugh grinned, gesturing to the drinks. Mads nodded and Hugh bought another round.
When he sat back down, he seemed closer, as though he had moved along the booth a little. Mads was sure he must be imagining it.
“I… I realise I didn’t tell you how much I enjoyed the play. You were very good.” Mads licked his lips after he had said the words, finding them dry. Interestingly, Hugh mirrored the action and smiled, his eyes darting to Mads’ lips.
“Thank you.” There was a light blush on his cheek, barely visible in the dim lighting of the bar, and it made Mads so profoundly curious, he couldn’t help a laugh. How much fun it would be to make the man blush. Hugh looked at him with a cocked brow.
Mads shook his head. “You blush when you are complimented on your acting, and yet on stage…” He chuckled again. “I thought I was going to develop a fur fetish after listening to you speak about it.”
Hugh let out a deep laugh. “Yes, well, there is a different between taking a compliment, and being provocative. I find I am perfectly capable of the latter.”
“I like it.” Mads admitted. “It’s charming.”
Hugh definitely blushed then and Mads swallowed, hard. There was no hiding the flirtation that was starting to grow between them. A harmless thing, surely? He would enjoy it and hope that Hugh merely dismissed it as a language or cultural difference when he woke in the morning concerned at having been misinterpreted. It wouldn't be the first time Mads had encountered such a thing.
With a laugh, Hugh waved the whole thing away. “It’s the business I suppose.” He seemed thoughtful for a moment, and then leaned to speak almost conspiratorially though he didn’t lower his voice. “You know, since I came out as bisexual, you wouldn’t believe the roles I have been offered. All straight of course, but… provocative, to say the least.” He laughed, and Mads’ breath hitched at the words.
“Like, Hysteria,” Hugh continued. “Watch out for that… release is later in the year. About inventing the vibrator.” Hugh’s laughter was bright and amused as he fell back into his seat chuckling. “I guess it’s this whole idea of, if you’re bi you’re more adventurous and open, sexually. Or… greedy?” He shrugged. “Certainly it is getting me some very interesting scripts.”
Blood was thundering in Mads’ ears. He had no idea of the man’s sexuality, and now that this information was not only known, but foisted upon him, he shivered. It seemed like the attraction he had felt and happily denied himself as unobtainable, was no longer strictly the case. It was a thrilling and terrifying thought.
He must have had a strange look on his face because Hugh’s smile dropped a little and he looked at him curiously.
“Is it something I said?” As he said the words, Hugh’s tone went from concerned to defensive. Perhaps wondering if Mads was homophobic and would take badly to this information about him.
“No, no…” Mads started. “I wasn’t, I… I’m not… people don’t know. I guess, I was… surprised that you...” He found himself saying the words before he’d even thought about them.
Sexuality was a weird thing for a celebrity. When he had first started acting he had been aware that it might become more of a focus than his actual acting, so he just kept it to himself. It wasn’t so much that he was closeted, but that no one asked, and he never told. And now he was looking at bigger roles and movies outside of Europe, so it was best to keep it quiet. He didn’t give a fuck about it in many ways, he just didn’t really see why everyone else did. Who cared who he was fucking? But for some reason, people did care and he never wanted to be in a position where that was the subject of a headline over his actual acting ability.
“Oh!” Hugh’s eyebrows had shot up in at his unplanned confession. “I wasn’t angling for… I’m sorry if you felt you needed to tell me… I mean, of course I was hoping...” He fumbled or his words in a foppish, British way that made him seem adorable and Mads shook his head with a grin.
There was a moment of silence before Hugh leaned in again, and this time spoke conspiratorially as he said - “I may be about to make a huge fool of myself, which is fine… I just… am enjoying your company and wondered if you’d like to come back to my place?”
Mads felt every ounce of blood in his body rush south.
“I don’t usually do this…” Mads started. It wasn’t strictly true. Before he’d decided to go into acting, he did this a lot. When he was a dancer he had been quite promiscuous, the lifestyle had allowed it. It was one of the reasons he’d decided to pursue dancing. But when he moved into acting and starting finding some success, it seemed a good idea to behave with absolute discretion.
“Am I being too forward?” Hugh was suddenly hesitant as he let them into his apartment. The blush was back.
“No!” Mads quickly replied. “No, not at all. Not forward enough.” He grinned as the door closed behind them. Hugh chuckled and shook his head.
“Why do I feel like you’re going to be a handful?” Hugh joked.
Mads quirked a brow and grinned. “You want to find out?”
Hugh didn’t hold back a hearty laugh which brought a wide grin instantly to Mads’ face. “I can’t work you out. You almost seem like you have a massive ego, but… I don’t think that’s true. I think you are just confident in your strengths. And it’s not arrogance it’s…”
Hugh searched for the words and Mads wondered what he might say. He’d heard this before - some who didn’t take the time to know him might think him arrogant or overly confident. But in reality, he was down to earth and unphased by the fame he had garnered thus far. All he did have was a confidence in his own abilities - as all people should, he felt. It was healthy to be so.
But as Hugh searched for the word he was concerned that the one he found would be negative as some had found in the past.
“Annoying?” Mads asked, hopeful that would be the worst possibility.
“No.” Hugh laughed. He pulled Mads to him so that he had Hugh up against the wall. “It’s such a fucking turn on.”
Mads’ own laugh was swallowed into a kiss as Hugh pressed their lips together - rough and hungry.
It was all the encouragement Mads needed to start stripping out of his shirt and unbuckling his belt.
Hugh hummed his approval into Mads’ mouth before pulling back. “Bedroom.” He instructed - nodding his head in the direction of the hallway before them. Mads nodded and allowed himself to be lead to the room, watching Hugh’s pert ass every step of the way.
It had taken well over ten minutes for them to get down to their underwear.
They had stood at the end of the bed, stripping layers from themselves and each other in turn - both of them distracted by every newly revealed bit of flesh. Mads was already sucking deep kisses along Hugh’s shoulder before his shirt had even hit the ground.
He couldn’t remember the last time he’d been with someone like this. Not just a quick fuck, but… well, it had almost felt like a date. Drinking and laughing and now this sensual exploration that he had no qualms about taking his time over.
When Hugh finally unbuttoned his jeans, Mads followed them down to the man’s ankles, his hands running up and down the back of Hugh’s legs as he nuzzled at Hugh’s cock through his boxers.
“Oh, fuck…” Hugh managed the words through a clenched jaw and Mads huffed a laugh against his groin.
“It’s always so amusing to hear British people swear.”
“I can assure you, it won’t be the last time you hear that word tonight.” Hugh’s tone was edged with amusement but there was a note of something close to desperation.
Mads felt a shiver run over him. He was already pretty sure this was going to be an unforgettable evening, he just hoped it didn’t pass too quickly.
He stood and slid his hand around the back of Hugh’s neck, moving the other up to gently cup his jaw as he drew the man into a languid and deep kiss.
They were still kissing when they fell to the bed together.
Mads reached over and grabbed his cigarettes, lighting one and taking a long drag as he fell back against the pillows and felt Hugh lay against him. The sun was trying to break through the curtains - the morning early but bright.
He took another drag before Hugh’s fingers slipped around his and stole the cigarette. He looked over and was more than a little turned on by the way Hugh placed it between his lips and pulled, slow and long. Mads cleared his throat and adjusted his cock beneath the blankets.
Hugh let out a long exhale of smoke and then placed the cigarette back between Mads’s lips, before asking -
“Your flight is tonight?”
Mads raised a brow and gave him a side-on glance.
“You were hoping for longer?” He chuckled.
Hugh grinned. “I wasn’t proposing we get engaged or something. I just… had a really great time.”
The grin was somewhat devilish and it made Mads ache throughout his whole body.
“I don’t need to check out of my hotel for a couple of hours.” Mads drawled.
“That sounds…” Hugh trailed off, leaning up nuzzling at Mads’s neck as he reached over and stubbed out the cigarette on the packet it had come from, “fun.”
Mads chuckled into the kiss as Hugh’s mouth moved against his own, a deep and thorough kiss that tasted like cigarettes. It was delicious.
Hugh felt like he was fighting against time as it moved slowly towards the inevitable moment when Mads Mikkelsen would step back out of his life.
He wasn’t going to convince himself that this could be any more than it was. Mads was nice, damn he was great. They hit it off, connected, on so many levels. Including in the bedroom. It was, hands down, the best one night stand Hugh had ever had.
But that was all it could be. Because despite the niggling ideas in the back of his mind of where this might go - how well they would work together - it wasn’t going to be. Mads’ career was taking a direction that could open up a future in Hollywood. Hugh’s own career was strong - he’d been in several movies in the last year, with Hysteria soon to be released too. Sure, some of the movies were better than others, but he was working solidly.
He wasn’t going to take that for granted whilst he was currently hot property. That might not last if the tide changed on his bisexuality. Perhaps people would forget or not care, but there was still the chance that for as many roles as it garnered him, he had, and would, lose just as many, if not more.
And Mads had already said, he wasn’t out.
It was possible to see each other quietly, without notice. It wasn’t like they were A-listers, it could potentially be easy for them to stay under the radar by just continuing to be fairly private people. Hugh knew others who had done it. But, that wasn’t something that happened after a one night stand. It wasn’t something one risked without more footing.
Ironically, if they had worked together on King Arthur or any other project they might have developed that footing enough to decide it was worth going for.
It didn’t matter now.
In fact, little mattered right in that moment other than Mads moving against him.
They panted, hot and heavy, against each other’s necks as Mads had them firmly grasped in a tight fist. Their bodies crushed together from the chest down as they both worked themselves in a slow rhythm until they climaxed with shuddering breaths.
Mads became a dead weight against him for a moment before he rolled off enough to lay against Hugh’s side.
When Mads let out a contented hum Hugh chuckled and had to ask -
“A pleasant goodbye?”
“I was… I was remembering something from the play.” Mads nuzzled against his neck as he spoke.
“Yes. There was a part, when you - Thomas - first switches roles with Vanda. I remember you spoke of the Count that was wooing you, how he makes you tremble. I couldn’t help but want to be that Count, to be someone who could elicit such a response in you.” The words were spoken with some amusement, a flirtation that made Hugh laugh.
No matter what, even after Mads left and he showered and got ready for the evening’s performance, there would be no forgetting this.
Two Years Later
Hugh swallowed, hard and dragged his eyes away from the promo shot and up to Bryan Fuller’s patiently smiling face.
“You alright? You look a bit pale.”
“I’m fine.” The words were almost a squeak and Hugh cleared his throat. It was all he could say, especially as he had no word for the mix of emotions flowing through him at the sight of Mads Mikkelsen’s bio and photo on the top of the small pile.
“Have you seen his stuff? I watched a couple of his Danish movies. Have you seen The Hunt? The man has amazing emotional range. And… No disrespect to Hopkins, but I feel like we should be casting someone continentally European for Lecter.” Bryan was flicking through the pile that was topped by Mads, and thankfully not looking at Hugh’s face.
He had felt it drain of blood… and then heat back up again. His cheeks felt like they were on fire all the way to the tips of his ears.
“I, uh… he’s good. And, uh… European.” Hugh agreed, reaching for words. When Bryan looked up and smiled at him he had a sudden fear that the man could read his mind… which was suddenly full of Mads Mikkelsen. Flashes of memories of the man smiling at him at the bar, flirting, kissing… Hugh’s mind was suddenly and uncomfortably full of the wonderful noises the man made when he…
“Are you sure you’re alright? You look a little flushed.” Bryan frowned.
“Fine.” Hugh coughed the word and reached for the glass of water in front of him. “I think… it’s just something I ate.”
Mads was excited, if a little anxious.
An American television show was a great opportunity and the role was iconic.
He thought that would be daunting enough, but then he had walked into the room where the read through was to take place, and his eyes immediately landed on Hugh Dancy.
“Mads! Thanks for coming.” Bryan Fuller appeared before him, smiling and holding out his hand.
“Uh… yes. Thank you.” Mads found his hand being shaken enthusiastically and he had to force himself to focus on the wild eyed man in front of him and not the sheepish looking actor sat at the table with a couple of the writers.
“We’re just gonna jump you in with a scene from the first episode. Hugh here - ah sorry, Hugh Dancy.” Bryan swept his arm around in introduction, and as though prompted Hugh stood and reached his hand to shake.
Mads took it, shook and gave a curt nod, trying hard to ignore the little shiver that went through him at the contact. Oh how those hands had run all over his skin in the most exquisite way.
“-as Will Graham, and we’re hoping to get a good sense of how you could work together on this read through. You should have received a copy from your agent, but I have one marked.”
Mads tuned in, realising Bryan had resumed speaking as he had walked back to the table to collect scripts. It was at that same moment that he realised he was still holding Hugh’s hand. If any of the others in the room noticed they didn’t make any mention. He met Hugh’s eyes for a moment and both their hands fell away.
Damn, the man was still as beautiful as he had been that night.
He had no idea how he was going to do this.
Hugh stepped away as Bryan returned, handing them each a script.
“Here -” he indicated for them to take a seat opposite each other at a little space set up, camera on them ready to roll. “I’ve marked out the scene.”
Mads hesitated even as Hugh sat and looked up at him expectantly. His appearance here was clearly not a surprise to Hugh, in fact as the moments passed he looked ever more confident.
“Okay.” Bryan sat across the other side of the room, unfolding the script on his lap and raising his hands to gesture as he spoke. “It’s morning, Will is in a motel room and there’s a knock at the door.”
One of the other writers knocked on the table. Bryan gave them a quick nod and Mads found himself stumbling over the words despite having read the script several times. But of course, on those occasions he hadn’t had a one night stand of two years previous sat coolly across from him.
“Good morning... Will. M-may I come in?” He coughed and cleared his throat. “Sorry.” Mads cleared his throat again and indicated at the water on the table and went to rise, but someone quickly brought him a glass and he downed it.
“Nervous?” Hugh asked quietly as Bryan made a low conversation with the techy at the camera, ready to film once more. When Mads looked at Hugh he was expecting the same sassy grin he’d had two years ago. Instead he found a comforting smile of camaraderie. He leaned in closer and spoke a little above a whisper. “Don’t let the past bother you, use it to your advantage. After all, we had great chemistry that night.”
Hugh did all but wink as he pulled back and Mads let out a little huff of laughter, forgetting for a moment the others in the room. Hugh was certainly right, and clearly had already moved passed any embarrassment this situation had brought him.
“Ready boys?” Bryan asked, looking at them curiously.
“Sure.” Hugh replied, flourishing a hand at Mads to continue.
Bryan cued him in again and Mads started over -
“Good morning, Will. May I come in?” This time he hit a perfectly suave delivery and was rewarded by the briefest of smiles crossing Hugh’s lips before the man glared at him.
“Deposed in court. The adventure will be yours and mine.” Mads crooned the words, somewhat bolstered by their previous adventure together, as Hugh had encouraged.
“Hannibal unpacks breakfast…” Bryan added in the action and then Mads picked up again.
“I’m very careful about what I put into my body.” He found himself pausing just a moment longer at the end of the line than necessary, wondering if Hugh also found it somewhat childishly amusing. He didn’t dare look directly at the man and instead persevered. “Which means I end up preparing most meals myself. A little protein scramble to start the day. Some eggs, some... sausage.”
Mads tried to reign it in a little, because at this rate he was going to start giggling like a teenager.
“It’s delicious. Thank you.”
“My pleasure.” Mads was more than a little awed at how completely focused Hugh was remaining. And he was more than a little thankful for it. One little quirked and knowing smile when Hugh said ‘delicious’ might have completely undone him.
He cleared his throat and continued to deliver the lines, feeling his way into this suave and cunning character - “I would apologize for my analytical ambush but I know I will soon be apologizing again and you’ll tire of that eventually so I have to consider using apologies sparingly.”
“Just keep it professional.” Hugh’s eyes met his, and only the glint there betrayed anything other than the script they were reading.
Even so, it bolstered Mads. There was a power play here, not just with Hugh, but between these characters. They would bounce off each other just as he and Hugh had that night - albeit their previous interaction was more suited for a rom-com than horror-thriller. But it was easily translated and Mads found himself eager to do this again and again with Hugh.
Mads leveled his expression and continued, dispassionate but amused. “Or we could socialize like adults, god forbid we become friendly.”
“I don’t find you that interesting.”
“You will.” The words came out crooned and Hugh’s eyes met his again. Something there - an agreement, and unspoken moment between them.
The air felt electric.
“Great!” Bryan enthused before Mads could continue. “Let’s wrap it there. Great, just great.”
He stood and came over to them, Mads was instantly on his feet and very clear that he was being given the friendly ‘no thanks’, given that Bryan didn’t even let him finish the scene.
“Loved it.” Bryan continued, before Mads could say anything. “Perfect… the chemistry! So good, almost like you guys already know each other. Amazing.”
Mads was puzzled, expecting to have been shown the door but now hearing this praise.
“Shall I wait for you to speak with my agent?” He ventured, tentatively.
Bryan slapped him on the back. “What? Sure, sure, I’ll get contracts sent over. I’m excited! Mads you’re exactly what we’re looking for, just right. Perfect, Hannibal Lecter. You know, charming and deadly - someone who could get away with murder.” Bryan laughed but continued to ramble excitedly. “A whole secret hidden life and no one would ever suspect, because he’s just charmed the pants off them. I think you capture that perfectly!”
Mads blinked, catching up very quickly to the events around him. He got the part.
Hugh was on his feet as Bryan moved off to give instructions to some of the others in the room.
“He’s right about the chemistry.” Hugh grinned, holding out his hand to shake. Mads took it and Hugh gripped it with just the right amount of pressure to make Mads’ hair stand up on end. Hugh smoothed a thumb over the back of his and and smiled the most pleasantly wicked smile Mads had ever seen.
“I look forward to working with you closely, Mr Mikkelsen. Seems you could be my Count after all.”