evocates: (Misc: Masked like a lover)
• just another dreamer • ([personal profile] evocates) wrote2013-05-06 12:22 pm

[FIC] RPF: seven wonders of everyday life

HI I'M BACK TO LOTR RPF. Though... not in a way that's expected. /covers face shamefully and peeks through fingers. Please forgive me I do have a Vigbean in the works. It's just being extraordinarily stubborn right now.

But for now, have at. This is written for [livejournal.com profile] afra_schatz. She sent me a list of prompts including the title of this months and months ago, and I only got to writing it now. Caro, you've probably read the first drafts of at least two of the ficlets below, but I hope you're entertained by them still, and you like the rest. ♥!

(I miss you and get well soon!)

seven wonders of everyday life

Characters/Pairing: Sean Bean/Orlando Bloom, Viggo Mortensen/Ariadna Gil (in one section), Viggo Mortensen (appearing in two sections in total)
Rating: NC-17
Words: ~7500
Disclaimer: Definitely did not happen. Product of my imagination.
Summary: One day, two people, seven different worlds. Seven situations Sean and Orlando found themselves in, and the little things that make life awesome or just plain good.

Midnight: The Bodyguard

It was habit that made Orlando take another round and check the perimeter again. The house was as safe as it could be; he made sure of that the very first time he arrived and realised the security was utter crap. Anyone could get in then if they made a good enough excuse or was a good enough liar. Now, however… he smiled at the night guard, giving him a small salute, and the man grinned under his heavy night-time goggles and hoisted his shotgun further up his shoulders.

After that, Orlando treaded the familiar steps to his own room—or at least, the one he kept for appearances so everyone wouldn’t realise that he spent almost no time there at all—and took off his jacket, folding it into half and laying it on the bed. He looked into the mirror in front of the wardrobe and took out the gun, turning it in his hand for a moment before he placed it on the desk. He wouldn’t need that for the rest of the night.

Sean was in the bedroom already, still dressed. He was smoking by the window. Orlando went to him, slipping his arms around that trim waist, marvelling at how easily and naturally his hands fitted there. By their own accord, his fingers started to unbutton Sean’s shirt. He managed three buttons before Sean turned around.

“Finished your chores?”

“Almost,” Orlando replied, and he smiled slightly before he stepped back a little. He finished taking off Sean’s shirt and watched as Sean stub the cigarette out on the ashtray before he slipped it off Sean’s shoulders, watching smooth, golden skin being revealed.

“There,” he said. “I’m done.”

“Undressing me is one of your chores now?” Sean raised an eyebrow.

“Who else would do it for you?” Orlando chuckled. He tipped his head back as Sean’s fingers hooked around his suspenders, lifting them off of his shoulders before letting the elastic fall to the floor.

“Plenty of people would do it if I give them the chance,” Sean retorted, smiling. Slowly, he unknotted Orlando’s tie, and the silk felt cool and smooth as it slid across his neck.

“Please don’t,” he drawled. “It’ll make my job so much more difficult, what with having to keep a horde from barging through your door.”

Sean shivered slightly, casting his eyes down and pulling away from him. Orlando cursed himself for his incautious tongue, because he might be able to joke about it, but Sean couldn’t. Orlando wasn’t the one in danger, the one receiving threats about someone wanting to keep Sean all to themselves to the point of imprisoning him. The current situation wasn’t much better, really, but at least Sean was in his own home, though there were some things he shouldn’t do.

“Hey,” he said, reaching out and closing his hand around Sean’s arm. “Hey, look at me.”

“It’s probably pathetic for a grown man to be afraid of something like that,” Sean said. “I know you meant it as a joke.”

“But it’s a tasteless joke,” Orlando said, trying to smile reassuringly. “Besides, I’m here, right? It’s my job to protect you.”

“Sometimes I think our positions should be switched,” Sean said, and his attempt to change the subject was obvious. “Aren’t you the younger and prettier one?”

Orlando laughed. It wasn’t the first time he had received a comment like that – when he was assigned to celebrities, sometimes they rejected him because he was far too pretty a bodyguard and might take attention away from them. Good thing that Sean was more sensible than that, really, because Orlando was – to blow his own horn – rather good at his job.

“I have to admit: you would look pretty much as a bodyguard.”

“Maybe I should play one in my next movie,” Sean teased, his fingers brushing against Orlando’s jaw, stroking the stubble that he grew so he would look less like a boy. “Get tips on you about how to do it correctly.”

Cocking his head to the side, he leaned against the rough, large hands. For a rich man, Sean’s fingers were callused like a construction worker’s. Maybe that was part of why Orlando even liked him in the first place – he didn’t have the kind of airs he was far too used to in this business.

“If you become a bodyguard, I refuse to become an actor,” he said, grinning. “Sitting around for hours in a makeup chair isn’t for me.”

Sean snorted. “I only have to do that to cover up me wrinkles,” he pointed out, and Orlando knew that Sean was roughening his accent just for his sake. “With a pretty face like yours, you’ll take minutes.”

“Maybe I just don’t like having cameras in my face,” Orlando countered. “If you keep talking about my face, I might rethink breaking my rules about fraternising with the client.”

“So why don’t you find a way to shut me up?”

“That’s the best idea you’ve had the whole day,” Orlando declared, and sealed Sean’s lips close with a kiss.

There was danger out there, right beyond Sean’s fenced estate. But Orlando might still be Sean’s bodyguard, but he thought that his desire to protect this man in his arms had gotten a little bit too personal. That was dangerous in itself, but somehow, Orlando found that he didn’t particularly care.


Evening: Rear Window (greatly bastardised) [with Viggo Mortensen/Ariadna Gil, and implied Liv Tyler/Cate Blanchett]

“It’s illegal, you know, what you’re doing.”

Viggo turned, grinning immediately when he saw who just came through the door. He should learn to lock it one day, he thought, and his guest seemed to have read his mind when she turned the lock.

“Hello, Ari,” he said. He tipped his head up, feeling her lips brush against his own.

She chuckled, breath ghosting against her cheek. “Anything new happening with your neighbours today?”

“Not much,” Viggo shrugged. He took her hand and pressed a kiss on the back of it. “I have come to the conclusion, however, that I’m quite possibly the only straight guy within these two blocks.”

“You’re as straight as I am,” Ariadna said, arching an eyebrow.

“Bisexual currently in a heterosexual relationship,” Viggo corrected himself. He cupped her cheek and rubbed at her lower lip with his thumb. She chuckled, leaning in and draping herself on the back of his chair.

“It’s your own fault for having your apartment in a Bohemian neighbourhood,” she pointed out. “In San Francisco.”

Viggo waved a hand, “Well, there’s that.” His grin widened, and he reached out, fingertips tapping against his camera. “Do you want me to tell you stories about my neighbours or not?”

“Of course I do,” Ariadna spread out her hands. “But first, you stay here for a bit and let me get glasses for the wine.”

Watching her go, Viggo craned his head backwards towards the window. The particular apartment he was looking at still had its windows closed, and he sighed quietly, hands landing on the chair’s wheels. With a little bit of manoeuvring and quite a bit of upper body flexibility, Viggo turned his wheelchair around until it faced the wide open window without banging his leg – still wrapped in its damned plaster cast – on the wall.

A glass filled with red wine was thrust into his face. “Here you go,” Ariadna said.

“Thanks,” Viggo said. He sipped at the wine.

“What are you looking at?”

“There’s a new couple who moved in today,” Viggo said. He pointed to the only closed windows of the apartment opposite. “That empty apartment was finally filled, but honestly I have no idea about the new owners except that they are rather violent and liked keeping their windows closed.”

“Rather violent,” Ariadna repeated, her Spanish accent giving a rather dramatically drawling inflection to the words. “What do you mean?”

“You have to wait for them to open their windows,” Viggo grinned.

Ariadna punched him on the arm.

“Hey, I’m an invalid here!”

“Your leg’s broken, not your arm,” she pointed out. “Now tell me more.”

“There’s nothing else to tell, but despite you being horrible, I’ll tell you about the others. I’ll even start with the ones you’re actually interested in.” Viggo said. “The two gorgeous women upstairs had sex with their windows opened last night.”

“Seriously? And you didn’t call me?” Ariadna shot him a horrified look. Viggo could barely resist grinning – this was really the best thing about having a bisexual girlfriend.

“There wasn’t a lot to see,” he said as casually as he could. “They had their nightgowns on.”

“Your mouth twitches when you lie.”

“Okay, fine, the redhead’s carpet doesn’t match the drapes, but the black hair is real.”

“Uh huh, and what’s the redhead’s real hair colour?”

“Blond,” Viggo grinned.

Ariadna laughed, “You’re really a terrible person.”

“Says the one encouraging me to look,” Viggo shrugged. “I really don’t have a lot to do around here and all of my cameras are just… well,” he made a vague hand gesture. “They’re hanging around.”

“Of course they are,” Ariadna said, and she would have sounded convincingly prim if not for the huge smile on her face. She sipped at her wine. “What about the pretty boy?”

“Mister Aspiring DJ stayed alone at home all night with his headphones on and I nearly fell asleep from boredom while watching him,” Viggo drawled. “I don’t know what’s your fascination with him – it’s not as if you can see those baby blues of his from afar.”

“That’s what your cameras are for,” Ariadna said helpfully.

Viggo snorted, and there was a retort on the tip of his tongue when he realised that the curtains of the newly-occupied apartment were being pulled open. He jabbed Ariadna in the ribs with an elbow, gesturing with his head- and he swallowed a deep gulp of wine when he saw the younger man with dark curly hair shoved his blond lover against the window and practically devoured his mouth.

He opened his mouth again, because he had to reply to Ariadna with a witty quip or else she would never leave him alone. But his determination lasted for five seconds before he clicked it shut again. His eyes widened as Blondie grabbed Curls by the shoulders and spun him around. Viggo watched, a little wide-eyed, as a large hand fumbled at window’s latch, shoving it open before Blondie bent his lover over the sill, all without allowing their lips to pull apart. He dropped back onto his wheelchair, whistling long and low under his breath.

“Violent, you say,” Ariadna said, and she sounded breathless.

“They’re a little bit much, even for this neighbourhood,” Viggo said. He tried to not behave like a five year old and shield his eyes.

“And this neighbourhood has a ridiculously hot lesbian couple who likes having sex with their windows open and Ian-fucking-McKellen,” Ariadna said. Viggo noticed out of the corner of his eyes that she was lighting up a cigarette, but he was distracted immediately by the absolutely obscene and extremely loud moan that newlywed (they had to be newlywed) Curls made.

Viggo couldn’t help himself. He leaned out the window as much as he could with his leg in the way, and wolf-whistled.

Blondie looked up from where he was practically fucking his partner on the windowsill. His eyes caught Viggo’s, and okay, it might be a little bit too far to tell, but it took more than distance for Viggo to not notice the absolutely lascivious wink that he gave him.

Curls tilted his head up, and his grin was very, very white in the sunlight.

“I hate my life and I hate my cast,” Viggo announced. “I hate my life because of my cast.”

Ariadna laughed next to him. She leaned in, and exhaled smoke from her mouth straight between his lips.

“Oh don’t worry, Viggo,” she burred. “You have a very creative girlfriend.”

Viggo looked at her and considered his priorities. He stole her cigarette and took a long drag of it, turning over to look out of the window. Blondie had dragged Curls back into the house, and Curls was pressed against the wall. Viggo watched as Curls grabbed a corner of the curtains and waved with the cloth.

“Help me get out my camera first.”


Near Evening: In the Park

There was a bench hidden behind a large oak tree in the park. It was almost entirely hidden from sight, though just down the path there was a playground. Now, at nearly five in the afternoon, there were plenty of children.

Not that Sean could see them. Darkness surrounded him- probably a good thing, considering the hideous colour that Orlando chose for a tie today. There was a thin leather bracelet between his teeth, half-resting on his tongue, and Sean bit down hard on it so it wouldn't drop. There were bells in them that made far too much sound.

He tipped his head back. Orlando's hand was in his hair, stroking through the strands. Sean leaned forward, swallowed his cock again, took it to the very back of his throat and sucked hard. Orlando's hand tightened. In the background, a ball thudded against a tree, and Sean could hear the voices of boys, floating towards them.

Orlando pressed a finger against his lips. Sean opened his mouth a little wider, letting it in, swirling the tip of his tongue against the callused tip. There was salt gathering on his tongue; pre-come, still light, and Sean made a soft noise, almost contemplative, and he watched from underneath his lashes as Orlando let his head drop back. The bench was a golden varnished brown, and his curls were stark black against it. Sean smiled to himself, his fingers burying themselves around Orlando's other curls, stroking upwards until he could lick his own knuckles.

Sean,” Orlando gasped.

Sean pulled off with a barely audible pop. He chuckled, muffling the sound against Orlando's skin. “You keep talking like that, you’re going to scar those kids for life.”

“Shut me up, then,” Orlando said, and he was beautiful like this, lips swollen from his own teeth, his eyes blown black and large, his hair dishevelled from too much contact with the bench.

Sean reached up, stroking two fingers against the edge of Orlando's mouth. He smiled to himself as Orlando grabbed onto his hand, shoving the fingers all the way in. The young man had never been particularly subtle. Sean smirked before he opened his mouth and deep throated Orlando again.

A ball whizzed past them at least ten minute away. Orlando's hands were clenched tightly on his own thighs. Sean pulled his fingers out of Orlando’s mouth, urging slim hips upwards. Orlando planted his feet hard on the pavement, arching his back, and Sean pushed one inside him, all the way inside. Twisted it, just a little bit.

Orlando’s teeth snapped down, and the click was almost loud enough to echo in the half-deserted area of the park, but Sean wasn't thinking about where they were. He wasn't thinking about anything except the heat of Orlando's come, the way he was trembling under Sean’s hands, the spit-wet sight of his mouth.

Sean swallowed, tucked Orlando back in, and zipped up his pants. He pulled himself up to sit on the park bench, half-sprawled out. As if on cue, a football hit its back.

“Hey mister!” Sean turned, smiled slightly at the sight of the kid who was waving frantically. “Throw it back, would ya?”

“Do your civic duty, Orlando,” Sean murmured. He didn't move from his seat.

Orlando shot him a look. “You do it.”

“I can't.”

“Why not?”

Sean turned, giving Orlando a wide grin. “It's not polite to talk to kids with your come still on my breath.”


Afternoon: Zombies + Apocalypse

The sun scorched down, burning hot. There was not a single cloud in the sky, but Orlando didn’t expect there to be one. Like every single time he looked up nowadays, he wondered what colour the clouds would be if they ever appeared. Nowadays the sky was no longer blue but a sickly deep shade of purple that a colourblind painter might try have mixed while trying to approximate ‘royal’.

He looked down. The ground was cracked, full of fissures, and Orlando would have called this land a desert years ago. But a word lost its meaning when it could be used to describe everything; there was no place that could be described as something other than ‘desert’ anymore. Maybe the polar ice caps- no, that was called the Northern Ocean now. He wondered what humans would do once water’s gone from there too, when the small, miniscule hope for rain vanished; but dismissed the thought. It would take at least a few more years, and he didn’t have the time to think that far.

For all he knew, he could be dead by then.

His hands shoved into his pockets as he looked around. Sean was beside him, seated on the flat ground. Orlando watched as he pulled the cork off a vodka bottle with his teeth and took a swig of it. Their fingers brushed as he took the bottle, and Orlando exhaled hard as he felt the alcohol burn down his throat. That was all they could drink – Orlando watched, more than a little mournful, as Sean poured the rest of the vodka into little glass bottles and topped up the clear liquid with oily gasoline

Supplies were running low. Eventually they were going to run out of supermarkets to raid. The ones in England were long emptied, and they had travelled past most of Europe – literally walking over the Channel, and wouldn’t that have made for a good science fiction movie a few decades ago?

“You know,” Orlando said idly as he dropped down to sit on the ground. He wasn’t sweating – their bodies hadn’t the water to spare. “Everything will be so much easier if the zombies follow the fucking fictional rules about walking around with their arms outstretched moaning brains, braaaaaaains.”

Sean snorted, “Have you been reading those trashy paperbacks in the marts again?”

“What, do you have a stash of better reading material?” Orlando ducked his head, unstrapping his shotgun from his shoulders and starting to clean it. Gun oil had run out long ago, but humans were adaptable, and vegetable oil was good enough if you did something to it. Olive oil was the best, really, though not extra virgin.

“Besides,” he continued. “The books are in Danish. Isn’t reading a book in a foreign language the best way to learn it?”

“I don’t see why you bother,” Sean drawled. He ripped apart the lace tablecloths they had taken (not stolen, because, quite frankly, there were no one left to steal from) from the furniture shop near what used to be Copenhagen and shoved the pieces down the glass bottles, the edges touching the vodka-and-gasoline mix. “It’s not as if there’s anyone left who speaks the language.”

Sean’s hands shook a little, and Orlando reached out, brushing his fingers against one strong wrist. There was a ghost that hung between the two of them, a man with a manic grin and an idealistic streak a mile wide. A man who used to paint murals on abandoned buildings even though the zombies were smart bastards and it was too dangerous a trail to leave.

But there were many ghosts, really, some of them dead, some of them ‘missing’, some of them worse than dead. Ghosts didn’t keep to nights any longer either.

“There’s no harm learning,” Orlando tried to keep his voice light. “Suppose we find people around here, and we can’t communicate because you don’t speak anything but English?”

“And of course, you’re going to speak to them using words you learned from trashy paperbacks,” Sean snorted.

“There’s plenty to be learned from trashy paperbacks,” Orlando laughed. He rubbed harder at the metal, smearing oil all over his hands. He was barely thirty, but his hands looked like old leather already – but then again, age was just a number nowadays.

“Yeah? Like what?”

“Like how people used to talk,” Orlando shrugged. “Like what they used to dream of.”

“You’re just going to depress the shit out of yourself,” Sean deadpanned.

“Nah, that’s just you,” he grinned at Sean, reaching out and brushing his thumb over the edge of his lips. “I’m a lot more optimistic than that.”

“That’s like saying that you’re a little bit wetter than the ground we’re sitting on,” Sean pointed out, but there was the briefest hint of humour in his voice. His eyes darted down to Orlando’s hand, and he caught it within his own. His thumb brushed against the soft, vulnerable bones of Orlando’s wrist, sliding upwards, ragged nail dragging over hard, tough skin. Orlando shivered, turning Sean’s hand around and circling the base of his thumb, callused fingertip stroking over the still-silky web between the fingers.

“I used to be fascinated by apocalyptic novels,” Orlando said idly.

Sean made a small noise, not sounding particularly interested. Orlando didn’t mind; this was a conversation they had plenty of times.

“It’s always weird. People used to think that in an apocalypse, there is nonstop sex. Reaffirming life or something like that.”

He was still looking at Sean’s hand. Cautiously, his fingers brushed upwards, barely skirting the edge of Sean’s pulse, thrumming at the base of his palm.

“People used to be obsessed about sex,” Sean pointed out. “I would’ve thought you know that, given the trashy paperbacks that you read.”

“Even Shakespeare has sex all over the place.”

“Well,” Sean shrugged. “Shakespeare was the trashy paperback of his time, wasn’t he?”

Years ago, that would be a joke. Now Orlando only quirked his lips upwards, just so slightly, because there was only bitterness. Years ago, anyone could read Shakespeare. Now Orlando considered himself privileged because he could still remember that name.

“Maybe he was,” Orlando said. He lifted his head up, staring at the purple skies. His fingers continued their work – he had done this so many times that he no longer needed to look in order to do. “You know, there was a book I read once. It’s an American novel, translated to French. My French is shite,” he curled the word around his tongue, relishing it. Why shouldn’t he, when he and Sean were probably the only two people who might still remember it?

At least of those they met so far. Orlando liked holding on to hope.

“What about it?” Sean asked. He heard this story before as well.

“It’s a novel about the apocalypse. The world turned into nuclear winter, and they burned books to keep warm.” Orlando said. He turned to Sean, shrugging slightly. “That’s all I managed to get from it.”

Sean parted his lips, probably to say something scathing, but he snapped his mouth shut. Immediately, Orlando started breathing silently – in through his nose, out through his mouth. Sean always had sharper ears that he did. And it was a good precaution, really, because Sean grabbed his forearm, thumb digging into his elbow. It was one of their silent signals.

There was a rifle on Sean’s shoulder. He hadn’t cleaned it, but there was no time. (There usually wasn’t.) Orlando shifted, standing up and snapping the last piece of his shotgun in place. He had twenty bullets left and he didn’t know where he could find more, but there were knives strapped to his leg, under his arm, and he drew one.

Beside him, Sean picked up the five glass bottles he just prepared, holding all of them with an expertise that came with long practice.

They’re coming.

It was impossible to tell a zombie from a living human being from afar. No flesh falling off, no moans, no shambling walk. Just a look in their eyes, all humanity stripped away. If they were lucky, there would be blood and drool on the corner of their lips – but not often.

Once, a long, long time ago, Orlando saw a rabid dog. All teeth and wildness the poor bastard was, snapping at everything, ready to kill out of a mixture of fear and viciousness both. Whenever he saw a zombie, he would think of that poor bastard – but unlike the dog, he had no sympathy for those things.

The prey who sympathised with his predator was only asking for death, and Orlando wasn’t ready to die yet.

(Maybe he would be one day. Maybe if Sean fell. But that was a long time away in the future, and Orlando only knew how to live day by day, moment by moment. Right now, Sean was beside him, so they would live.)


Early Afternoon: Texts from Last Night (with inspiration from Shoebox Project)

(20) 13:12
I was like can I please fuck your hips back into realignment

(20) 13:15
I just used “et al” in a sext. I thought you'd be proud

(20) 13:18
When you finally get laid, I shall make you a trophy out of dildos

(114) 13:25
I’m doing just fine, but thanks for the offer. How would you make a trophy out of dildos anyway? Won’t all the glue used ruin the point of dildos?

(20) 13:26
OMG who are you

(114) 13:31
You were doing so well with the spelling and grammar. Don’t stop now.

(20) 13:35
Usual protocol for receiving a misdialled drunk text is to ignore it, bad stranger sir.

(20) 13:39
Seriously I talked about fucking hips back into alignment and all you’re concerned with is how I’m going to build my trophy of dildos????

(20) 13:41
And my grammar is just fine thank you very much.

(20) 13:45
Bad stranger sir I will build you a trophy of dildos (WITHOUT GLUE) if you get laid too because I don’t think you do that much.

(20) 13:59
ARE YOU IGNORING ME NOW BAD STRANGER SIR? It’s impolite to reply to a drunk texter and then leave them hanging!!!

(114) 14:04
Calm down. It’s afternoon on a weekday. Some people have actual work to do.

(114) 14:07
If you must know, I get laid plenty. I’m hot and I know it. Your dildo trophy is appreciated, but unnecessary.

(114) 14:10
Your grammar is not fine. Repeat after me: I do believe in the proper use of punctuation marks, I do, I do.

(20) 14:22
I DON’T believe in the proper use of punctuation marks oh my God stop already I’m using proper spelling don’t you know how rare that is?

(20) 14:25
Jsyk I actually spoke that sentence out loud and now I’m a little blue in the face

(20) 14:32
Do you have a hip out of alignment?

(114) 14:41

(20) 14:48

(144) 14:57
There’s no need to shout. Why do you want to know?

(20) 15:01
So I can fuck it back in alignment, of course. I’m like a chiropractor. Or rather my cock is like a chiropractor.

(114) 15:07
That is the most ridiculous proposition I have ever received in my life.

(20) 15:10
If I win a prize I choose your name, your home address, and you bent over a desk. All three, you can’t choose one!

(20) 15:12
That text makes perfect grammatical sense. I did it just for you.

(114) 15:27
My secretary spent the last ten minutes staring at me like I’m insane because I have been laughing for fifteen minutes straight.

(114) 15:28
My name is Sean.

(20) 15:35
Mine’s Orlando. Hi how do you do I’m glad we’re finally formally introduced even though our first conversation was about dildo trophies (which are totally possible to make without glue btw).

(20) 15:38
BTW I can swap bending you over a desk for a coffee at any time. Just saying.

(114) 15:45
I’m not going to ask about the intricate workings of a dildo trophy.

(114) 15:48
I think we actually live in different cities.

(20) 15:58
Dude I don’t think that I managed to text someone in New Zealand because you said afternoon so you must be in England and England’s kind of puny. You know, like peanut-sized? And there’s this amazing invention made a hundred years ago called THE TRAIN

(114) 16:16
You’re actually serious.

(20) 16:21
I spent the last three hours texting you. Of course I’m serious.

(114) 16:25
I’m coming down to London in about a week. Think you can wait that long?

(20) 16:31
Let me consult Doctor Penis, Chiropractor in Resident.

(20) 16:33
NO I’M KIDDING I can wait. I’ll just keep texting you until then.

(20) 16:37
Look I’m putting in actual effort for proper grammar and spelling. Are you impressed yet?

(114) 16:42
I’m considering it.

(20) 16:47
I Googled your area code.

(20) 16:49
So I can grab a train up north tomorrow and barge into your office and drag you out for coffee and we can talk about the intricacies of dildo trophies.

(20) 16:52
It’s either that or I get drunk with my mates again and I think option one is more useful. Steer me away from corrupted youths so my own will stay pure and untarnished, bad stranger sir!!!

(114) 17:01
Can you use proper grammar and spelling again? Just out of curiosity.

(20) 17:04
I would if it means that you’ll say yes to coffee tomorrow in Sheffield.

(114) 17:07
Okay. I’m saying this for the sake of the English language.

(20) 17:08

(20) 17:15
Shit I don’t know where your office is. Or your house. I DO remember asking for your address as my prize, oy!

(20) 17:18
It’s distinctly difficult to burst into your office like a knight in shining armour to rescue you from the evil work dragon when I don’t have your address, you know.

(114) 17:22
Persistent, aren’t you?

(20) 17:23
Well duh.

(114) 17:33
I’ll send it over in a bit.

(114) 17:35
My lunch break is at 1pm. Try to be time, won’t you?

(20) 17:38
Oh, I will be. I promise.

(20) 17:40
*waggles eyebrows*


Noon: Orlando: A Biography

She lounged on the settee, a cigarette in her pale, white hand; the perfect picture of indolent early twentieth aristocracy who managed somehow to hold onto their money. Sean watched her from the seat he had taken beside his easel – the paint would take hours to dry even in the summer air here at the countryside. They should retire – perhaps go outside, enjoy the country air, but Orlando seemed disinclined to move, and Sean’s eyes were fixed upon her.

She was a striking figure to him: not least because of the angular nature of her face, and not least because she seemed to have no curiosity whatsoever about the portrait he was painting of her. So many of those he painted clambered to look at an unfinished work, but the Lady Orlando only lounged, as if she was used to waiting.

“You were telling me of your meeting with the Virgin Queen,” he said.

Orlando’s head lolled back, exposing her long, white throat. It had taken Sean hours before he managed to mix the perfect shade, and in the light of the noon sun, her skin seemed to glimmer like fireflies were lodged in them.

“The first time I met her, I knelt to present to her a bowl filled with the freshest spring waters and perfumed with roses,” Orlando said. Her voice was deep, deeper than most women’s. “It was an honour, but also a little silly.”

A woman’s fancy, perhaps: an immortal life, an eternal youth, all given to her by the solemn words of a Queen long dead. But it made a good story.

“Were young women allowed to present finger bowls to Queen in that strange age?” Sean asked. It was an idle question.

Orlando laughed. She dropped her head forward, teeth stark white against the black wood of her cigarette holder. “I was a young man then,” she said. “My face had not changed, but I was a young man, dressed in hose and garters, kneeling in front of the Queen.” Her smile widened, and she blew a long stream of smoke towards him.

“She placed the deed of this house in my garter.”

Sean turned, tapping his cigarette on the porcelain bowl made for such a thing. Balancing the holder against the edge of the ornate side table, he stood, striding over to her. He dropped to his knees beside her bed, fingertips brushing the edge of her long dark skirt. She watched him, and on her lips was the curious smile that so attracted him to her the very first time they met. Her hand closed around his wrist. They drew her skirt up together, exposing long ankles and calves that were uncommonly strong for a woman.

“You do not believe in my story,” Orlando said.

“No,” Sean replied. It would be easy to lie, but there was no need for him to, not to one such as her.

“There was a woman, once,” she murmured, her fingers tracing the edge of Sean’s jaw. “Her name was Sasha, and I loved her.”

“Was this when you were a man?” Sean tipped his head, nudging those fingers closer to his lips until he could nip at the skin.

Orlando pressed her thumb on his lip, and the difference in texture of the waterfall-silk of her fingerless gloves and her rougher skin made Sean’s breath catch. “You catch on quickly,” she said. “Will you now tell me that it is an artist’s work to capture illusions with your fingertips?”

“No,” Sean replied. He stood up, clothes rasping against the smooth, cool bedsheets. “I am a paid artist, milady. I do not capture illusions, only faces of those who stand before me.”

“You don’t think what is before you can be an illusion?”

“Not when there is heat,” Sean took those stroking fingers within his own, pressing a kiss on the knuckles. He kept his eyes on Orlando’s, and wondered why he expected the colours to change as his shadow fell across them. “Not when there is solidity.”

“Perhaps you should be a courtier instead, with that tongue of yours,” she said.

Sean laughed. “I would be a courtier indeed, if my mother was not a whore, and if I was not a bastard,” he said, and those words were not for a lady’s ears, but titled as Orlando might be, she was no lady. No, she was more of a young boy – yet without the stupidities of such youth. The lack made her far more charming.

“So you are indeed,” Orlando said.

She turned her head away, taking a long drag of her cigarette (out of the corner of his eyes, Sean watched as the ash of his own, long abandoned, fell to the carpet). His vision was filled with her suddenly, and Sean lidded his eyes, parting his lips as Orlando kissed him, exhaling smoke into mouth. A rough-edged kiss, bitter on the tongue, and yet, like the tobacco itself, endlessly addictive.

“I am no poet,” he said.

Orlando laughed, “Do I make you wish you are?”

“No,” Sean said. He smiled at the widening of her eyes – immortal she might claim to be, but it seemed that she could still be surprised. His hand clenched around her skirt, and he pulled it all the way up, exposing her garter. Before she could react, he pushed her down onto the bed. The rich down of her pillow threatened to swallow her up, but Sean offered no rescue. Instead, he pulled her leg up, keeping his eyes on hers as his teeth closed around the garter, tugging it loose.

She laughed again, eyes bright and sparkling. Sean grinned, and he plucked the cigarette from her fingers. He took a long drag of it into his lungs, letting the smoke burn, before he captured her mouth, repaying her with his next exhale.

It was noon. The curtains were wide open, and the easel was not yet dry. This was usually the time for walks in lavish gardens, or for boredom. But Orlando’s hand was sweet and heated on Sean’s neck, and her mouth had a curious taste.

If Sean was an artist in any of his manners, it was in his interest in the strange, the new, and the myriad things that made colours burst behind his eyes.


Morning: New Zealand

Orlando wasn’t a human being, Sean decided. It was impossible for him to be human. Maybe he was really an Elf who hopped out of Tolkien’s fiction to torment normal human beings by being too chirpy in the dead hours of the morning.

Sean’s eyes were slowly crossing as he squinted at Orlando across the small gulf between their makeup chairs. Here was the gulf between sanity and insanity, normality and abnormality – and that description honestly didn’t work very well because Sean knew that he had Viggo on the other side, and anyone who thought Viggo was normal was clearly insane themselves. Maybe he was a lone castle and the floor space was his moat, separating him from crazy bastards who were too damned cheerful in the morning before caffeine.

“You look like you need coffee,” Orlando observed helpfully. He was eyeing Sean out of the corner of his eyes, obviously trying to not move as his makeup artist pasted his Elf ears on.

“Tea,” Sean corrected belligerently. “And no shit I need caffeine. How do you tell?”

“It’s the slightly murderous zombie look. Fits rather well on your face.”

“That,” Sean said very slowly, “was a rhetorical question.”

“The term ‘rhetorical’ is a question of interpretation. You might mean it as a rhetorical question, but since your voice has gone all flat and zombie-like and hence completely toneless, it’s up to me to make meaning out of the blank slate of words you have given me.” Orlando made a small gesture, a hand-wave-plus-shrug that made him look so incredibly prissy that Sean almost threw a hairbrush at him. No, he couldn’t ruin Orlando’s flawless Elven complexion.

He tossed the hairbrush backwards instead, hitting Viggo right in the face mid-cackle.

“Oy!” Viggo squawked. He tossed the hairbrush back to Sean, and out of the corner of his eyes, Sean saw one of the makeup girls bury her face in her hands in an attempt to not laugh. He scowled at Viggo because of course everything was Viggo’s fault. Everything happened within a mile radius of Viggo was Viggo’s fault in one way or another.

“I might get bruised from that, you know,” Viggo was saying.

“No one can tell bruises from all the manly dirt you’ve got on your mug. I’m improving your performance, Vig,” Sean drawled.

Before Viggo could say anything, Orlando kicked him on the chair.

“Pay attention to me, Sean!”

A sane castle amongst a country of insanity. Sean let his head drop backwards, looking at Orlando upside down. This lasted for five seconds before his makeup girl distractedly jerked his head back into the right direction – a good thing too, because he was getting dizzy.

“I’m not going to pay attention to you until you have tea for me, I’m just saying.”

“Is that all I am to you? A tea boy?” Orlando placed his hand on his chest, melodramatically shocked. Sean just stared flatly at him.

“Be thankful you’re not a tea cosy,” Viggo said from Sean’s left.

“… How would I be a tea cosy? Viggo, do you even know what a tea cosy is?”

“Sure,” Viggo said, and Sean didn’t even need to turn around to hear the mad grin in his voice. “It’s a blanket you put on your lap when you drink tea, so you’ll be cosy when drinking tea.”

For a few moments, a respectful silence fell over all three of them to honour this glorious revelation.

“You know,” Sean said, a little reflectively. “I’m so not awake right now that I almost believed what you just said.”

“Wait,” Orlando cut in. “If that’s a tea cosy, I want to be one.”

“Nothing Orlando says will ever make sense,” Sean announced to the world.

“I get to drape across Sean’s lap, right?”

“Stay away from me lap,” Sean protested immediately. “It don’t need your corrupting influence.”

“Oh,” Viggo said, sotto voce. “Is that what we’re calling it now?”

“I have died and gone to hell and that’s why Peter assigned me to this trailer with the two of you.”

Orlando ignored him, “Do you think tea cosies are draped over horizontally, or vertically, or is there some kind of straddling going on here?”

Viggo made a considering hum, like he was giving the question the great amount of thought it deserved (which, knowing Viggo, was probably entirely true). “I think that’s a matter of interpretation. It’s up to the tea cosy, really.”

“Hello?” Sean tried to bring himself back to the conversation, because closing his eyes and knocking his heels together three times didn’t bring him out of this surreal world of serious conversations of tea cosies as lap warmers. It didn’t bring him tea either, and he was getting pretty desperate.

“I think my lap should have an opinion about this.”

“Okay,” Viggo said pleasantly, turning around to look at him. He was smiling crookedly, like a rather amused elementary school teacher or an angry axe murderer. “What does your lap think?”

“My lap thinks we should get some goddamned tea before it has to think about what it wants to be covered with while I’m drinking it.” Sean groused. “And my damned lap has more sense than both of you put together.”

“I will live in thy heart, die in thy lap, and be buried in thy eyes!” Orlando declared, dramatically. Sean looked at him, askance, and the younger man grinned. “What, I did go to Guildhall, you know.”

“I think Sean is objecting to the double meaning of the phrase,” Viggo opined, making small waggling motions with his fingers.

“No,” Sean sighed. He squinted at Orlando, then at Viggo – not really on purpose, but because Sarah, the girl in charge of his makeup, was settling Boromir’s wig on his head and it always got into his eyes. “No, I’m objecting to having to decipher Shakespeare before tea.”

“You mention tea so much that I’m starting to get jealous of it,” Orlando said.

Sean snorted. He tipped his head back and shook his head hard, letting the wig settle on his head. “I need tea to survive far more than I need you,” he said flatly.

“You have killed me,” Orlando sighed, slumping back on his seat. He was smacked hard on the shoulder for his trouble.

“Stop moving around and you’ll actually be finished quicker,” Sarah said tartly. She smiled at Sean through the mirror. “You’re done, Sean.”

It was with ease of long practice that Sean slipped out of his chair. He turned around, bowing theatrically and grabbing her hand to place a kiss on it. “You’re a darling,” he said, and deepened his accent because he knew she liked it.

“Why don’t you ever do that for me,” Orlando groused.

“Because you act like an idiot,” Viggo suggested. Sean glanced over to him and watched as Viggo turned entirely unconvincing doe eyes to his makeup girl. “Do I get to roll in the mud in this wig?”


“Damn, but it’s necessary for Aragorn’s character-”

“I’m going for tea,” Sean announced, interrupting Viggo mid-segue about the goodness of mud for hair and how it was absolutely necessary that the Ranger looked like he attracted all manner of dirt. Viggo made the same damned speech every morning and Sean had almost memorised all of it.

(Almost out of sheer force of will, mind, because he liked Viggo plenty, but if he started talking like the man he would take the first flight back to England, contract and once in a lifetime opportunity be damned.)

“You’re abandoning me?” Orlando whined. Unlike Viggo, he could actually pull off the doe eyes and pouty lips.

Sean was unimpressed. There was something to be said about overexposure. “You have Viggo and the girls to keep you company,” he pointed out. “Perturb them with more Shakespeare.”

“Alack!” Orlando managed to look melodramatic without actually moving his face, because he had a brush on it. “Goodnight, sweet prince.”

“You mean ‘perturb us by destroying more Shakespeare’,” Viggo said, sounding far too amused.

Already halfway out of the door, Sean couldn’t resist the last jab. “In case you haven’t noticed, Orlando – and I don’t know how you can’t since we’re awake at makeup – but it is actually morning. ‘A glooming peace this morning with it brings; the sun, for sorrow, will not show its head’… probably because it’s fucking five am and the sun’s a sensible bloke.”

“Show-off!” Orlando yelled.

“Orlando, if you’re not going to stay still, I’m going to tie you up and gag you!”

“Ohh,” Viggo drawled. “Kinky.”

Sean wondered, like he did every morning, who exactly did he piss off to have to deal with those two before he had his cuppa. It was an inhuman punishment, it was – but somehow, he still found himself laughing as he closed the trailer door.

(At least it wasn’t boring.)


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