Miranda will gush about him in interviews, and Viggo will wonder if he was missing something. If somehow he'd been looking the other way at the point where "the sexier he gets" could have been translated from rhetoric to tangible.
Of course, he knows he hasn't missed a thing. There was nothing hidden. Nothing to miss. Miranda has always been completely honest.
Viggo's not sure about himself.
In the movie, Aragorn had the upper hand and Eowyn was the one who trembled, who reacted, who fluttered around the halo of his flame. She moved with the fervent passion and gangly colt-steps of youth.
The world flipped on its axis when the cameras stopped rolling.
"Viggo, you walk like a peasant."
Miranda walked with her hips and shoulders, instead of her solar plexus. She was gesturing and warm-eyed and teasing him. He looked down at his feet and prodded the earth with uncertain Aragorn boots.
"Clomp, clomp, clomp," she mimicked, twisting down from the waist to grin up at him from within his line of sight.
"Harridan," he told her, unable to resist the light of that smile. She gasped with outrageous affront, and he added: "That's it, definitely not marrying you now."
She tossed hair and skirt, icy composure ruined by her smirk. "Well, I never really wanted you anyway." She flounced away for a good five steps before she was on someone else, laughing and pointing and nudging their hip with hers.
"Motherfucker," Miranda said, voice salty as the sea, as her dart thunked into cork just below the rim of the board. "I swear, they're cursed or possessed by the spirit of drunkards past or -"
"Or maybe you just really, really suck," Orlando interrupted. He grinned at her and went forward to collect the darts.
"Only if you ask really, really nice!" Leaning forward to the point of precarious, Miranda grabbed a cheeky handful of Orlando.
Who yelped and spun about, juggling darts and shock. "Bloody hell, woman!" He cast about and -- "Viggo, defend my honour!"
"What honour?" Viggo asked over the rim of his glass. Orlando spluttered and Miranda winked and Viggo laughed into his beer.
"What are you doing?"
Every single one of them skewed around like boys caught in the cookie jar. Viggo just tilted his head back, looking straight up at Miranda's arch-eyebrowed face.
Dom waved a hand at the tintagulated mess on the table. "We were just, um -"
"It's obviously never going to work like that. You need a fork right there..." She leaned over Viggo's shoulder to take up the implement sitting beside his plate. When she leaned further forward she had to tilt her hips around the back of Viggo's chair and rest one hand on the table to reach the centre and jab her addition into the listing cutlery sculpture. She thrust, levered, and drove it home. "There!"
Steadying hands retreated warily, but though the pyre of stainless steel wobbled, it remained upright, teetering on spoon-spokes balanced on empty juice glasses.
"Genius!" Elijah declaimed, and Orlando laughed wildly.
"Amateurs," Miranda retorted.
Something vibrated against Viggo's shoulder and Miranda added, "whoops," in a voice so quiet no one noticed, and she twisted to reach into the shoulder bag Viggo hadn't realised she was wearing over her white Eowyn dress. She shook her hair aside to get the phone to her ear and say: "Otto."
It was a stark and stern greeting, Viggo thought, looking back to the enterprising silverware engineers, gleefully falling upon their rectified edifice with intent to ensconce the saltcellar in its midst. It was almost a mannish greeting, the way a businessman would say it. Viggo watched Orlando talk shit about counterbalancing, waving his butter knife in the air.
He almost flinched when her hand came down on his shoulder. Warm, wide, loose. Impersonal. Steadying. He was sucked back into her universe where she was saying, low and earnest, somewhere above his head: "No, Richard, I told you... You know why... That's not it at all... Fucking - you're the one who said it, not me... No, I don't think so. Don't. Just don't. Don't call me anymore."
Viggo didn't move after she'd ended the call. The youngsters shrieked as salt streaked across the table surface, arguing about good and bad luck, left or right, and eventually Miranda's fingers slipped off his shoulder.
"Thanks," she said, and Viggo was still the only one on the table who heard. When he turned around again, she was over at the coffee machine.
He got this feeling around certain fragile beautiful things, like icicles and microchips and the ivory filigree box that Exene had inherited from her great aunt. That had been so delicate that nothing could be put in it, it just sat on the window sill and when he was home alone Viggo would go down the hall on the other side because just looking at made his fingers thick with nervous adolescent fumble.
It was strange because normally he didn't give a fuck about breaking things.
Miranda was cast up beside him on the bar by the ebb and flow of the pub. She said, "Get me another while you're at it," and set down her glass, coke-tinged ice cubes rattling.
"How many have you had?" Viggo asked before he could curb it.
She looked sideways up at him, and said precisely: "Not enough yet."
He bought her another bourbon and coke even though he had that feeling.
Which didn't make sense, because she wasn't fragile. Not Miranda. And anyway, just because he could ride a horse didn't mean he'd make a good knight.
"Right there; fuck."
When she was done up in Dernhelm-desperation, Miranda wasn't that attractive at all, really. Something about the sky, the hair, the grey of the field and the armour and her steel. Leeched all the life out of her and made her pallid and squat and hard.
It was all more credit to her as an actress, of course, because it amazed him anew every time how much Eowyn just wasn't her. Wasn't how she did things. Wasn't how she related. Wouldn't it have been easier if it was?
When Pete called the cut, Miranda leaned on her sword and said: "Damn, I need a beer."
She was sweat-grimed and drained and grinning.
Viggo thought: not really at all. Not really.
"Yes, harder - yes."
Miranda didn't need to be drunk to dance. What minimal persuasion it took the hobbit boys were always eager to provide, Dom or Elijah or Orlando enticing her to the floor with bright eyes and beckoning fingers. She acted their age with a confidence they'd need another ten years (at least) to find buried under youth. She slid against and around and between them, saucy and scandalous. They were just children playing.
Viggo wasn't watching, so it almost came as a surprise when a weight draped against his back, Miranda's hair tumbling over his shoulder. He could feel her sweating through his shirt, their shoulderblades together.
"So fucked," she panted, words circling around them. "I'm a tired old maid who's going home to bed."
"You're not," he said. His elbow twinged at the unnatural weight and angle.
"Not an old maid or not going home to bed?"
He said nothing, and she laughed. He felt her weight starting to shift. "Do you need a ride?" he asked quickly, hand already going to the pocket with the car keys.
"No," she said, levering herself off his back. "No, you carry on. I'll be fine by myself."
That was when Viggo opened the door on silent hinges, just as she gasped the words as if the reckless thrust of his body had forced them out of her.
Orlando's body. Orlando hitching her up against the wall with slipping hands on her hips and his face buried in the slewed sweep of her neck. Orlando bracing and thrusting again like a spasm that entered her and hissed out her mouth.
Miranda's mouth open, eyes closed, face shining and distant. She clawed at Orlando's shoulders, tightened the cross of her calves behind his back, squeezed her pale thighs tight against his hips.
He shouldn't keep watching. They didn't know he was there. Miranda's head thudded back, low groan rippling out of her bared throat, with the wildness of excess, not the careful abandon of performance. She twisted Orlando's shirt between her fingers splayed over his shoulder blades. She had her eyes closed. Orlando was oblivious to everything but her.
He shouldn't keep watching. Though if they would do it in public... Not that this room was public. No one ever came here. Viggo wouldn't be here if he hadn't been...
He closed the door as quietly as he'd opened it.
The next time they were out getting drunk the boys were all drinking cocktails and the orcs were being belligerent. Miranda was shrieking laughter with Liv at the bar and the pair of them left early without looking back.
"What I'm saying is -- fuck, is anyone even listening to me?" Dom slapped a palm on the alcohol-sticky table.
"'m awake," Elijah protested, unpeeling his cheek from Billy's shoulder as Viggo turned back to the group and Orlando downed the rest of his cloudy green glassful.
"Who's for another?" he demanded, swilling the dregs.
It took all three of the rest of the hobbits to pour Elijah into the car after closing time, which left Viggo and Orlando swaying down the street. The boy bumped against him one time too many and Viggo just wrapped an arm around his shoulder to keep him there.
"Where are we going?" Orlando asked, tilting his head back against Viggo's arm and frosting his breath in the night.
"I'm walking you home," Viggo offered.
"I'm walking you home," Orlando countered.
Viggo's place was the closer. When they untangled at the gate, he looked down at Orlando, all drunk-bright eyes and saucy smirk. Viggo trailed his fingers over the nape of Orlando's neck, and watched the thrill follow the touch. He could do it. He could take Orlando inside, hard young eager thing, and he could fuck him. Take him against the wall if he wanted, and he'd arch, he'd scream.
But it wouldn't be anything like fucking Miranda.
Miranda will gush about him in interviews, always talking from the heart, always honest. Viggo will say something about how Aragorn should have been with Eowyn. He knows all along that that was simply impossible in Tolkien's world.
Honest by dee
All stories are works of fan-fiction by Dee. "Fan-fiction" means that she does not own any of the core creative concepts and characters, but she does heap adulation, appreciation and awe upon those people who do hold the intellectual property rights to those concepts and characters. Further, any instances of real people are fictional, and the author does not wish to suggest any truth should be attached to the actions, emotions and words attributed to them in these fictional stories.