I've always thought of it as a switch; like a dam in the flow of electricity, keeping all that lethal current sitting safely until it's thrown open, and then--
Bam. Sparks, light, heat, a million volts.
Spectacular if you can see it, but you usually don't.
I see it. I see them.
I see because I watch, because I bear witness, because they're electric to the eyes, all energy and leaping life.
Orlando - Orli - he's the rough, wild stuff, the static that lifts the hair on the back of your neck, the spark that jumps from your car door on a cold, dry day. Dom, he waits to pounce. He's the faulty wiring that zaps the unwary, he's the powerlines buzzing overhead, obvious and hidden.
They meld together, feed off each other, so easily. They all do, the young vibrancies we were graced (or cursed) with. You'd think they'd been friends all their lives, not a couple of years, and they were like that after two months, living in each other skins without a qualm.
But those two... they fit together so well you don't even notice it. There are others more obvious in the effort expended, the care taken, but with them, there's nothing to it. It'd be like noticing that the sky is blue.
Except that sometimes you have to notice the sky. Sometimes, especially down there at the perfect end of the earth, the sky's so blue it seems a new colour of its own, redefining itself, and far out to sea you can't tell that the horizon even exists, even when there's a storm brewing.
We carry New Zealand with us, all of us, even in the middle of Hollywood. Some more than others.
They're standing in a hidden corner, a side corridor, lost for the moment from the frantic adoration of the world. I can't judge; I'm hiding myself, catching my breath from all the screaming.
They're suited but casual, wearing the clothes like easy fame. Dom has one hand in his pocket, a lolly-pop in his mouth, a coin rolling through the fingers of his other hand. He's not so good at it; he keeps fumbling it, but he hasn't dropped it yet. Orlando has a hand in his pocket as well, a cigarette in the other hand, and that crease on his forehead that isn't quite a frown.
"My last," he says, words shaped in smoke.
"Sure," Dom says around the lolly-pop. (It smears and slurs the sound: "Schurr.")
There aren't two guys anywhere on the continent taking it easier. The energy's low-level, but I can almost hear the buzz in the background. Just a reminder - High voltage: keep clear. A hint, a boding clue, the taste of ozone between your back teeth.
Five minutes ago they were sparking, blinding arcs of glittering energy, dazzling the cameras, teasing Elijah in effortless double-team. Electricity laced Orlando's teeth when he grinned - flickered in Dom's eyes when he smirked - and the world loved them both.
But now they're a slumbering storm. Thunder on the horizon. Flash of lightning in the distance. Flash of coin across knuckles.
"Will you stop that?"
"Will you stop smoking?"
"I have." He takes a drag.
"Fucker. It's my last one."
"Last one until the next one."
"Fucker," he repeats.
Dom fumbles the coin again, flips it up into the air, pockets it quickly.
Orlando exhales ferociously, and flicks the butt into the trash. "Better get back."
A hand hits the wall beside his head, and he's barely turned at all, as if expecting it. Dom's lolly-pop clatters into the trashcan. No grin, no smirk, just--
They come together like voltage earthing, like fusion. Hands no longer in pockets - on each other, manipulation, knuckles in hair, delving under clothes.
Gripping a livewire. The air around them tingles, it's charged, it thrums with their insistent arhythm. They've done this before, again and again, but it's ferocious, it's now, it's a flood released.
With Orli's hand over the front of his trousers, fingers flexing, Dom's gasp arcs into the air. Orlando's mouth is on his neck, teeth to tendon, and they're connected, forming a circuit.
Orlando's the one against the wall, with Dom's arm hemming him in, hand in his hair, but he's in charge, hands and mouth. When he slithers down the wall, trailing sparks, all Dom can do is stand, hold against the current.
The sound of a zipper is loud as lightning. Orlando's on his knees and Dom jerks like a shock. His other hand comes up to brace against the wall as well, head lolls forward, sparking eyes watching.
Watching Orli rock back on his heels and get serious about the business at hand. Hand curled around Dom's upper thigh, not quite his hip, hand curled around Dom. The not-frown's back on his face: forehead creased, mouth busy. He rolls his shoulders, he hinges from the neck, his jaw works.
Dom's hips shift. His fingers slip on the wall. "Fuck," he pushes through gritted teeth. He bucks under Orlando's chuckle, under his attention as he increases his pace, cranks up the voltage.
Orlando's fingers are buried in fabric, digging into flesh. They're a feedback loop, Orli's generator mouth through Dom's coruscating body, building pressure back in upon itself that's been there since the last time (until the next time).
The circuit's tightening, collapsing in on itself. Dom's breathing is harsh in his throat as he leans trembling forward, touches forehead to the wall between and below his hands. Arcs over Orlando as he moves, as he insists.
It doesn't take long. They live on the edge, and know all the buttons to press, all the switches to flick. Dom's gasping, a gutteral sound from somewhere under his solar plexus and his knees twitch, straighten again through sheer effort of will. Orlando's name bursts from him like a shower of sparks, like the final explosion of a circuit shorting out.
He's still gasping when Orlando leans back, slides himself back up the wall nudging Dom's head aside, insinuating himself between Dom's hands. Still gasping when their mouths meet, long and sliding and lazy in the glowing buzz. Dom leans forward, pressing, his hands inching down.
"No," Orlando's purring, catching Dom's wrists, holding his hands free. Dom growls; Orli laughs. "Gonna fuck you," he threatens, he promises, voice like static on the back of your neck. "Later."
Storm's not done yet. Retreating into the distance. It'll be back.
Five minutes later, they'll be back in the public eye. Dom'll unwrap another lolly-pop, stick it in his cheek.
"How many of them have you got?" I'll ask, because he wants me to, so he can say:
"Enough to go around." And he'll wink.
"Slut," Orlando will quip, arm around my shoulders. He'll lean his forehead against my temple and laugh.
My skin will speckle and prickle long after they've moved on.
Switch by dee
Happy Birthday to Amy, because she's a kindred spirit in so many ways, not least being the D'Orli love. And any girl doing honours and suffering a birthday needs a little love.