Freddie knew that his flatmates were smart, but God, sometimes they were so thick.
He'd tried everything. Putting his legs in their lap, grabbing their arm to get their attention, greeting them home with hugs, even asking them to sit in his lap! And still, the three of them delivered nothing but unsatisfactory affection.
It wasn't like they were scared or uncomfortable at the idea of cuddling, they were just... boys. Boys who weren't used to the idea that you can show someone affection for more than 10 seconds. And all of them were constantly busy, alternating in between schoolwork and jobs and the stress of living away from home. They rarely had more than a few hours to all settle down with each other. Well, all of that was going to change. Freddie Mercury wanted attention, and goddamn it, he was going to bloody get it.
"Brian?" he called, entering the living room. Brian was alternating his attention between the television and the work papers spread out in front of him, looking skittish and overwhelmed like an oversized chihuahua.
Freddie had decided beforehand to get him on the same page first, as he seemed the easiest. It wasn't a struggle for Roger to get people to touch him. There was almost always at least one or two girls looking to catch his attention whenever he was out at night, leaving him with the option to go home with them if desired. Not being touch starved was just another perk of conventional beauty, Freddie supposed. And John was the newest member with his eyes on a girl he'd met a few weeks ago. He'd warmed up to his band mates, but was still a bit shy when it came to affection.
Brian, on the other hand, was a man currently married to his studies. He didn't leave the house as often as Roger, and wasn't actively seeking romance like John. Freddie hadn't missed the way Brian's touch would linger uncertainly for a moment during a hug before pulling away, or how he'd lean into Freddie when he would rest his head on his bony shoulder before catching himself and straightening up. Brian may have been suppressing it, may not have even realized it, but he wanted to be held even more than a baby did.
"Hm?" Brian looked up, giving Freddie a small grin. "What's up?"
Instead of answering, Freddie quickly and dutifully marched over and situated himself in the space on the couch behind Brian's hunched body. It was a bit of a squeeze, but thankfully neither of them were rather large and Freddie was able to make it fit. Tucking his knees on either side of Brian's body, he flung his arms over his shoulders and slouched forward so that his head and chest were pressed against Brian's back.
Neither of them spoke for a tense twenty seconds.
"Fred?" piped Brian.
Freddie hummed in reply.
"What are you doing?"
"Don't question it," he said, voice muffled against Brian's back. He could practically feel the gears turning in Brian's brain as he did exactly that,"And don't think about it too much," he added, reaching up to pat his head.
Freddie shushed him with more insistency, "Shh! Just let it happen."
It took Brian a moment, but eventually he began to relax into Freddie, now once again focused on his schoolwork. Some of the tension had already been relieved from his shoulders, Freddie thought, eyes half lidded as he raised one of the arms draped over the crook of Brian's neck to stroke at his jawline. Jesus Christ, he could fall asleep like this.
"What's happening?" came a voice from the same doorway Fred had entered. Freddie forced himself to open his eyes and look at Roger, who was tucking a pack of cigs back into his jacket.
"Cuddling," he replied nonchalantly. He felt Brian's face heat up under the pads of his fingers as he tried to stutter out his own answer. Even so, Brian made no effort to move. "Thought you weren't home?"
"Can't believe I'm saying this, but I actually think I'm too tired to stay out tonight. Barely made it an hour before coming back."
Freddie nodded, "Come join us, then."
Roger shot him a weird look, "I think I'll leave that to you two."
"Noooo," he drawled sleepily. He flapped his hands around in what he hoped was an inviting motion.
Roger rolled his blue eyes, "What's this about, Fred? And why does Brian look like a fish out of water?"
"To answer your first question: this is about you getting your ass over here on this couch. To answer your second question: he's trying to formulate the words to describe how much he also wants you to get your ass over here on this couch."
Brian finally seemed to snap from his trance, "That's not— I don't want your ass. I mean, I do. Wait! Fuck that came out wrong. I mean that I don't don't want you over here, it's—it's just—"
"So eloquent, isn't he?" Freddie teased, giving Brian's cheek a poke.
"Shut up, Fred," he said. "What I'm trying to say is please don't—don't get any wrong ideas from this."
The two took a moment to process his words before Freddie barked out a laugh, "You were embarrassed to have Roger catch me cuddling you because you were afraid he'd think you were gay?"
Well, now that someone said it out loud it sounded kind of silly.
Freddie continued laughing, "I'm—I'm sorry, but I don't think Rog that daft. You've got nothing to worry about, Brian, especially since he's joining us."
Roger rolled his eyes again, "Nice try, Fred."
Freddie huffed, "We've already established that neither of you are getting hard-ons over a little hugging. I'm failing to see your problem."
"Well, first of all, where would I fit? There's not any room for me in your formation."
"We'll lay on the floor, then."
He locked eyes with Roger, staring at him with as much seriousness he could muster so that he'd know he meant it.
"You're insufferable," Roger broke eye contact, huffing a laugh, but sat down on the carpet anyways.
Even though Freddie was finally getting what he'd wanted, he wasn't quite ready to leave Brian just yet, even if it was only for a moment. Instead he found himself staring at the ground next to Roger and hoping he could magically transport there. He was too cozy to get up.
"Well?" asked Roger. "Are you two coming down or no?"
Finally, Freddie lifted his head from Brian's back and pushed the other boy sideways off the couch so that he had no choice but to fall on the floor next to Roger's knees. Freddie wasted no time following suit.
"Lay down," he commanded, looking up at Roger from his position on the carpet. "Lay on me, actually."
"Sounds sexual," Roger wiggled his eyebrows, grinning as he shuffled into a lying position.
Freddie mock gasped, "Me? Sexual? Never. Roger, how could you think that?" To his left, he heard Brian giggle. "Now, come on."
He wrapped two arms around Brian and Roger's waists and pulled them closer, both of them on their stomachs while Freddie laid on his back. He allowed them to throw their arms over his chest and stretch their gangly limbs, relishing in the weight.
"You're practically purring," Brian said against the carpet.
"He really is like a cat," replied Roger.
Freddie scoffed, "Sod off, I'm happy like this. You guys were shit cuddlers."
"You've improved. With my help, of course. I'm a man of many needs, Roger. One of which is lots of actual fucking human contact. Unlike you, who apparently is a sociopath that doesn't need contact outside of sex. Anyways, neither of you could help me properly so I had to take matters into my own hands. Consider this your punishment."
"I'm not a sociopath," Roger replied. "And for your information, I happen to enjoy hugs."
"Then come here! You fucking—" he never finished his sentence as a result of dragging Roger so that part of his chest was lying against Freddie's, arm finding its way spread across Brian's back. Freddie couldn't remember the last time he'd felt so good, so content. It just felt so inexplicably right to be laying on the floor, happily being crushed into the carpet by two of his best friends and band mates. And—wow, perhaps he was purring a little.
Brian snorted, eyelids fluttering shut, "Cat."
"I am not."
"Yeah you are."
Roger pried an eye open, "When does John come home? I think it's unfair he's not being subjected to this as well."
"He should be back in about a half hour," sleepily muttered Brian.
"Okay," he closed his eyes again, nestling his forehead into Freddie's chest.
Freddie felt his eyelids droop, the floor had absolutely no business being this comfortable. Not on an early Thursday evening with the lights still on and the television still broadcasting. With Brian's unfinished work still resting just a few feet away. He wanted to stay awake for John, but when sleep fell from the heavens and layered itself over the three of them, he didn't have the willpower to fight it.
Not long after, he was lightly awoken by the sound of keys jostling in the door lock. John entered the flat, shrugging off his jacket and shoes and walking right past the room where his flatmates were lying on the floor.
"Hello?" he called into the kitchen. "Guys? Are you here?"
"John!" Freddie whisper-yelled as to not wake Roger and Brian.
John followed his voice into the living room. He stared at the miniature body pile on the floor, breaking into an amused grin.
"What are you doing?"
"Having a rest," Freddie said, smacking his lips together. "Come join us, dear, you look dreadful.
"Thanks," John snarked, although Freddie was correct. None of them had been in their prime lately, due to exam prep and late nights at the studio. John looked a strong breeze away from toppling right over and falling asleep where he landed.
"You're not allowed to say no," added Freddie.
He raised a teasing eyebrow, "Yeah? And why's that?"
"Brian's cold," he carefully moved his left arm to cup Brian's fingers that rested on his chest. He gasped melodramatically, "Like ice!"
John gave Freddie one of his famous faux-annoyed looks, "Let me get a glass of water first."
Freddie waited contentedly, shifting slightly into a more comfortable position. He could already feel the back pain he'd have tomorrow, but he'd rather die than give up the warmth and comfort of the men on top of him.
"Can you shut off the lights?" He asked John when he entered the room again. As well as getting water, John had also changed out of his tight day clothes into more comfortable pajamas.
"A few blankets too, while you're at it," Freddie added. John obediently shut off the lights and grabbed some blankets and pillows from where they kept them stashed behind the couch. He also went over to shut off the television, leaving the room in complete silence.
"Here, your head will thank me later," John said as he handed Freddie a pillow. He took their faded yellow quilt and draped it over him and Roger. Then, John carefully lifted Brian's head to give him a pillow too. Brian stirred a bit, cracking open an eye.
"John?" he muttered.
John waved, "Hi."
"What time is it?"
He checked the watch on his wrist, "Only about 10:15."
Brian sighed contentedly, leaning further into Freddie's body, which caused Freddie to light up, "Are you sleeping on the floor too, tonight?"
John glanced at Freddie unsurely, who nodded his head yes as aggressively as he could without smashing his chin into Roger's skull.
"I guess I am," he confirmed.
"Good," Brian said, shifting onto his side, "I'm fucking freezing."
Freddie huffed, "Told you."
Another blanket was laid over Brian's body. John quickly slipped beneath it as well and adjusted a pillow for himself, laying as stiff as a board.
"You can do better than that," came Freddie's voice barely two feet away.
Slowly, John stretched his leg so it further tangled the Freddie-Brian-Roger limb mess and rested a hand over Brian's spine. It was awkward, and a rather strange position, but he was too afraid of accidentally overstepping boundaries.
That was, until Brian yanked his hand further across himself and dragged John along with it until his arm was splayed all the way to Freddie and his chest was against Brian's back.
"Get comfortable, mate," he insisted. "You deserve some rest."
John didn't disagree. Instead, he tucked his head into his cushion and tried to sleep. He was finally caught up with everything, no work or looming deadlines keeping him up at night. Brian was right. He deserved a full night's sleep. They all did.
"Psst," Freddie said, just as he was about to fall asleep.
"What?" he whispered.
"Roger still has his shoes on."
Both Brian and John had to stifle their laughter into their pillows. John could feel Brian's body move beside him with every breath.
Freddie allowed himself to bask in the comfort yet again as silence regained the room. He'd finally gotten what he'd wanted—maybe even what the other had wanted, too. He was lying on the living room floor of his apartment, laying under a musty blanket and the weight of the three boys that he'd hold up the sky for.
Yeah, he could get used to this.