I want someone to grant my wishes
And I want a boy who only kisses
I want a friend that I can care for
And I want a love that's not so painful
But I can't everything I want
'Cos I can't have you
I can't have everything I want
'Cos I only want you
- Dayna Manning: "I Want"
He woke with the sunrise, looked out his window to low, lazy clouds gilded beneath by the first rays. There were two bedrooms in the tiny beachhouse; Viggo always took the one whose bay windows faced east. The house was quiet and still.
Walking along the beach at this hour, it was possible to believe he was the only person in the world. The sand was unmarked, painted pale grey by the sun disappearing behind clouds, and the sea was dark and light, changeable, surging forward, pulling back, oblivious to him, his problems, the rest of the world.
He liked it. Caught beneath the sea and the sky, wrapped in their austere lack of regard, he could begin to distance himself from his own troubles, from the things he fled to this remote place to escape in the first place. A blessed weekend off shooting, away from the set. Away from what he couldn't have.
Standing amid the rocks, he let the waves wash over his ankles, splashing up his calves, never mind that he was wearing jeans that would take forever to dry salt-stiff. He spread his arms wide to the uncaring ocean and breathed deep of the clean air and sharp sea spray. And laughed. The first time he'd done that in a long time, really done it, not just playing along, but feeling the mirth deep within himself.
He trudged back up through the dunes, wet and sandy to the knee, hair hanging windswept and salty around his face. He'd spent longer on the beach that he'd meant to, but what did that matter? The painting and writing and plain old thinking he'd been planning weren't exactly scheduled activities.
"You look like even more of a filthy human than normal."
Somehow he managed to keep walking normally, even as his heart stopped. Raised his head slowly, casually, tossed the tendrils of hair out of his eyes.
"Elf boy." Keep going, coming closer to where he was sprawled indolently on the few steps up to the porch of the little house. Leaning back on his elbows, ankles crossed, all that slender body on display in a white T-shirt and jeans that went for impossible miles. Viggo climbed the steps beside him - one, two, three - not saying anything. What could he say?
"You had the right idea, I think, running away." He was still lolling on the steps, staring out at the sea and the sky, and when Viggo looked back from opening the front door, he realised that Orlando would have seen him on the beach from there.
"I did?" Running away. He felt like he'd run, standing on the threshold with his lungs labouring. Looking at the back of Orlando's head. He felt like he'd been caught.
"Yeah." Orlando tilted his head back, grinned at Viggo upside down. "Get away. Have some space. Great idea." He levered himself to his feet, and stretched like a cat. Climbed the steps, towards where Viggo still stood, door half-open.
"I thought you were going surfing with the hobbits."
Less of a grin this time, more intimate. "Well, I didn't."
Viggo turned away, went into the house. Orlando followed, lingered just inside the entry, hands in pockets. As he strode down the corridor, Viggo caught sight of a backpack on the bed in the second bedroom. Almost enough to make him catch his stride.
"This is a nice place," Orlando called down the hall after him. "I'm going to make some coffee. Want some?"
Running away. He needed to think.
"No. I'm going to take a shower."
He leaned his head against cool tiles, letting the hot spray drum against the back of his neck.
And started to hope.
He dressed in different jeans, a loose sweater, sleeves pushed up to the elbow. The house was full of the smell of brewed coffee, and loud music from the radio turned way up. There was enough coffee left for him anyway, still hot. Through the kitchen window, he could see Orlando in one of the chairs on the porch, bare feet up on the railing, reading a dog-eared novel. Viggo took a mouthful of coffee, and turned the radio down to a bearable volume.
"Old man!" And he looked outside to a playful two fingers over Orlando's shoulder.
He smiled. "Brat," he called back, and for a moment considered going out to join him.
Too much, not yet, and he went into the main room instead, the bright corner where he'd left his painting things spread in disarray. Not up to canvas yet, even if he'd had one prepared, just sketches and studies, thoughts in paint that might one day make a coherent statement. But for now they were vague, unformed, dashed off in emotion and smears of paint, snatches of scribbled words in the corner, words that completed the idea. He struggled with them, trying to capture ephemery.
There was the noise of movement burning at the edge of his awareness. Orlando, in the kitchen, such normal everyday noises, now singing along to the radio, mimicking a drum roll with cultery on the benchtop.
And Viggo had to swallow hard, staring blindly at the sea of colour before him, before he could answer: "No, I'm right. Thanks."
He was split now, between the paper and the house, the two intermingling. It was all coming out in the paint, the sandwich noises in the kitchen, and then the canned-music ring of a mobile phone, Orlando's voice breaking off its singing to answer.
"Hello... Hey Lij!... No shit... Well, what did you think was... Of course I'm not saying that..."
And on, words blending into sounds blending into a warm swathe of paint the colour of his eyes, his voice, that moved through everything, binding all of it together.
He picked up a pencil with paint-spattered fingers. In the corner he wrote merely: "A day of grace."
"Hey Vig." Voice from the doorway, and the pencil dropped from startled fingers as his head whipped up. Orlando, wetsuit and grin: "Going for a swim. See you in a bit."
As the door clattered shut behind him, Viggo took up the pencil again, and stared at the sketches for a long time before adding, in smaller, fainter writing: "Together."
He tossed the pencil aside, and stood, stretching. The house seemed even more quiet than it had this morning, in the absence of the radio, his voice, the sound of him simply being in it.
Viggo walked down the corridor, the sussurescence of his bare feet against the floor sounding unnaturally loud. He paused at the door to the second bedroom - Orlando's bedroom. Went inside. The backpack sagged open, novel tossed carelessly on top, half-buried under his white T-shirt. Shoes near the door, crooked. Jeans slung over the chair, and Viggo ran a hand along the leg. There was still a lingering trace of warmth.
There was paint on his fingers, he noticed, and he'd left the faintest smudge near the hip of the jeans. Brown paint, the colour of his eyes.
He washed his hands in the kitchen, and wandered out onto the porch still drying them on a handtowel. He sat where Orlando had this morning, on the steps, where he could see the beach. Could see Orlando. He moved like a seal in the water, dark and lithe, with grace and certainty. He was body-surfing, braving the waves, harnessing them, pulling out before they got too shallow and violent, swimming out to do it again.
And God, he was far gone, seeing poetry in the surf, but even when he laughed at himself, blinked in the sun, looked back, it was still there, around him.
He was energy, he was brightness, he was vibrant, brilliantine youth.
What was he doing here?
Hope brightened the answer to that question, but Viggo was too old to believe in delusions. Still, he shied away from the bitter edges, gripped to his hope.
He watched him as the sun began to dip, and shadows splayed long across the water. He watched him leave the water, shake himself, and begin to lope up the sand. He watched him climb the dunes, as he must have been watched this morning, and cross the space to the steps.
"You're staring." The intimate smile again, close, warm, leaning down over Viggo as he sat on the steps.
"You're cold." There was a hint of blue around Orlando's lips. He raised a hand to wet-suited arm, let the fingers trail up the slick surface to shoulder, to neck, to skin, the curve of jaw with the faintest hint of stubble. So faint. Youth. Brown eyes watched him.
Viggo moved his hand back to Orlando's shoulder as he stood up. "Have a shower. Get dressed. I'm going to start dinner."
He worked in the kitchen to the sounds of the shower, snatches of songs he didn't really recognise sung in a warm brown voice. Orlando reappeared in the doorway - check flannel pyjama pants and a sweater - as he tested the pasta sauce. Perfect; just enough oregano, and Orlando leaning against the doorframe, arms folded across his chest.
"Open the wine," Viggo ordered, gesturing to the bottle of red on the bench. "Glasses in the top cupboard. We'll eat in the main room."
There was a creeping chill, and Orlando coaxed a fire in the grate as Viggo brought the plates in. They sat on the floor, leaning against the dilapidated couch, plates resting on knees and the bottle between them. The light outside had fled entirely now, but the firelight was enough for inside. Enough to see. Enough to hope.
"This is really good," Orlando said, mouth full.
"Yes," Viggo agreed.
Empty plates set aside, and wine topped up, the last of the bottle a dribble into Orlando's glass. Viggo shifted, stretching his legs out in front of him, tilting his head back against the couch, and he brushed Orlando as he moved. When had he come so close? He closed his eyes, needed a moment of stillness, just the fire popping in the darkness behind his eyelids.
"Viggo..." Quiet, warm, an intimate breath. "Is there dessert?" A quirk in the voice, and he opened his eyes, had to, looked up not so far into warm brown leaning over him, leaning down. Paused. "You look good enough to eat." And he could feel the words as breath against his face. Arched upwards, sought, found.
His lips, tasting of tomato and garlic, rich wine as they parted easily, moved hungrily, so soft, yielding, demanding. Hand on his neck to bring him closer, wanting, mouths opened and his tongue, his teeth so sharp. All of him, closer, hand splayed down his back. There was movement, then warmth, body straddled, settled, pressed together. Tilted his head back to kiss along his jaw, nip at the earlobe, and down the neck, laved the pulse point and felt a moan vibrate through his tongue.
"God, Viggo, yes..." Breathy, whispered, wanted. Then: "Wasted the fucking day... waited so long."
It was hard, with his collarbone under his lips, warm skin under his hands, but he paused, buried his face in Orlando's shoulder, in the warm, knitted wool.
"What...? Viggo, what?"
Tasted that sharp, bitter edge, and grit his teeth. Wasted the day. Day of grace. He tilted his head back, looked at warm brown eyes so close to his. So far. "Why are you here, Orlando?"
The eyes were a little dazed, lids lowered, and his lips weren't simply red from pasta sauce and wine as he smiled lazily. "This was an opportunity I couldn't miss. I'd never forgive myself."
He leaned forward, Viggo leaned back, and those eyes jerked open, a slight frown creasing his forehead. "Orlando," Viggo repeated, "why are you here?"
The frown deepened. "What? Isn't it fucking obvious?" His voice sharpened now, and eyes were starting to glare. "Do you want me to beg? Plead? Serenade you eloquently? I'm here because I stay awake at nights thinking about your body, Viggo; about running my hands over it, over you, wondering how you'd taste under my tongue. And when I finally do sleep I dream that you're there, that you're fucking me. And I wake up screaming your name. Happy?"
Viggo closed his eyes, couldn't be looking at him when he said this. Slid his hands down Orlando's back, off, falling to the floor. "Get off me."
Barely a choked whisper, but Orlando heard it. "What the fuck? You're kidding."
"No, I -"
"You want me, Viggo." And he proved it, moving as they were, the one straddling the other, pressed together, a sinuous slither, pressure.
He squeezed his eyes together, almost grimaced with the intensity. Hands came up automatically to grab at the hips moving against his. "Orlando -" A determined thrust this time, and he swore through clenched teeth: "Fuck!"
"Yes." Sibillant beside his ear.
"No!" Pushed with hands on his hips, shoved him aside, scrambled to his feet with heart racing, breath heaving, only opening his eyes when he was face-to-face with the wall, leaning his forehead against the cold surface. Fists clenched, knuckles pressing the plaster. Almost itching.
"What the fuck is your problem?" Grated, angry words behind him, and something in the fire snapped. "What was all this? What were the looks you've been giving me for weeks? Are you just playing some fucking game? You want this, Viggo."
"I want you." Viggo barely recognised his own voice, so small, cracked, defeated. He took a shaking breath, turned away from the wall, until he could see Orlando, still sprawled on the floor, propped up on one arm, looking almost debauched, and angry as hell. Something in him ached, but his hope was done now, burnt down to nothing and gone out. Lost.
He eased away from the wall, turned to face him fully. "I'm not playing games, Orlando. Not playing at all." He watched comprehension creep into brown eyes, settle there. Comprehension and something else. Closing. Distancing. He sighed, turned his head so he didn't have to look in those eyes any more. "I want you," he repeated, and turned, walked away, down the corridor to the room whose bay windows faced east. Closed the door behind him.
And leant against it, in the dark, for the longest time, waiting for a knock that never came.
He woke with the sunrise, the sky outside an unbearably fragile blue, eggshell-pale and clear from horizon to horizon. There were two bedrooms in the tiny beachhouse; the other one was empty, the bed undisturbed. The house was quiet and still. Hollow.
The sea was deep blue, rolling and inscrutable. The beach was pristine, wiped clean of yesterday's tracks. Viciously, blissfully ignorant of anything that had come before, anything that would come after, not caring about the detritus scattered haphazardly across its surface.
There was a shell amidst the seaweed; the edge almost cut his foot as he stood on it. He bent to free it from the green salt tangle. It was perfect, unbroken, pale and delicate, but solid, firm. He turned it over in his hands. There'd been life in it once. Dead, now. Scoured clean and cast aside.
Surged to his feet with a bellow of rage, letting the shell fly from his fingers, arching high in the morning sun, a perfect parabola. He turned as the shell still flew through the air, didn't wait to see it disappear into the surging surf with barely a ripple to mark its loss. Strode up the beach. Away. Back to shooting. Back to the set.
Back to what he couldn't have.
Duology by dee
For Jen - friends read your essays; true friends read your fanfic, even when it squicks them.