Title: Pretty Babies (the Remix)
Author: herm42 (hermit9)
Original Story: Pretty Babies by geniusartist
Rating: R-ish for a couple bad words and some clothed undulations
Pre-reveal Notes: No longer an AU except in as much as it is still totally made up. Starts a bit before the original story. Gave some of the other guys something to do, filled it out a bit here and there with trivial stuff, a ball of lint that crawled in my ear while reading the rules for the challenge itself. Changed it to present tense because I can't write in past tense anymore for some reason, and I made Orlando kind of a twat. Kept the dialog *almost exactly* the same because it was really the meat of the original story.
Post-reveal Notes: Muchas Gracias to my charming and excedingly British beta kissing_athelas for the britpick, nearly all of my punctuation, and most of my Proper Names.
Disclaimer: The author makes no claims or inferences to reality or truthfulness. Moreover, this story is based upon the work of another author and recognises their creation.
Sean is squatting on the lawn, face icy and concentrated under the pouring rain and dingy light of sodium lamps. He has a pile of soaked laundry in front of him on the grass. A dozen or so little socks in a rainbow of colors have been fished out and scattered on top of the pile, Ali's socks, and he has a burlap bag full of dried beans nicked from the caterers or who knows where leaning against his thigh, probably sprouting by now.
"What are you doing?" Dom yells to him over the drumming rain, numb fingers holding his hood over his head as the wind tries to blow it back.
"They're in there again," Sean says coolly after a chilly pause and continues his baffling activity.
Dom looks at the house. Smoke scuffles in the wind around the chimney top, rain batters the crosshatched windows just meters away. Dom feigns nonchalance, as if it was normal to be standing out in a downpour in front of your mate's house in the middle of the night filling socks with beans. "So what?"
"So I'm going to make sure they know they're not alone," he growls acidly.
"Oh for Chrissakes Sean." Dom's car is puttering in the driveway next to Sean's. He shrugs and sighs, exasperated; keeping Sean sane is Lij's job. "If they want to bugger each other up the arse, let them."
"No!" Sean stands to face him; his words spit rain from his drenched face into the air. "Orlando is a prick. I'm not going to let him-"
"He's not a prick. He's just a... twat. There's a difference."
Sean glares at him and crouches on the ground again. "I know the difference, but apparently Lij doesn't," he mutters, but Dom still catches it.
Dom gapes. "Of all the petty, imbecilic, hateful..." He flusters and can't come up with anything more to say. He shouldn't need to. Sean is a great guy, salt of the earth, but subject to the dark side when his emotions get entangled. Dom knows this and it settles him. He takes a few breaths between raindrops and makes a tiny little whine, petulant because he doesn't want to be here. "Why the socks, Sean?" he gripes. If he can figure that out maybe this will make a little more sense on the whole and he won't feel so wretched.
Sean ties the last of seven of the socks filled with dried pintos across the top, hefts it in the air gently. "I don't wanna break anything," he says like it should be obvious. Dominic chuffs. "I just don't want him getting hurt." Sean says then, suddenly, pointing a purple toe at Dom. "I don't want Orlando to use him and spit him out. He's...."
"I know. They're just kids." Sean is collecting his bean bags off the ground, dirty and dark, and rises to his feet again, looks tired and stripped. "If you go in there, Sean," he says it slow but loud and clear so Sean doesn't miss a single word, "you're just going to make it worse. Like...reverse psychology or something, you know? You're going to tell him it's a bad fucking idea to get involved with Orlando and you're going to make him want to all the more. I'm telling you, just stay out of it. You're too wound up about it, you'll end up doing something stupid that will just launch them into bed together even faster." Sean just looks at him now with almost three meters separating them, looks at him with sad Samwise eyes. Dom thinks he must be mirroring that look just on Sean's behalf.
"I'd bet we'd have really pretty babies." The fire snaps once and Elijah looks up from his script and blinks huge eyes at him a few times. Orlando wonders what fate would befall the Universe if Elijah had to wear those Coke bottle glasses that make everyone's eyes huge on top of their existing hugeness.
"You and me, Lij," Orlando strokes his jaw once, thoughtfully. "We'd have pretty babies."
Elijah just rolls his eyes, by this point immune to the things that come out of Orlando's mouth. Mostly. "Alright, whatever you say." Nutball. Elijah refocuses his attention on the script in his hand.
"Don't you find me attractive?"
Elijah carefully extricates his glasses from his face and sets them on the little table between his chair and the couch. Before he answers, he sighs affectedly and leans his head back, folds his script beneath his arm, and counts to five in a whisper that Orlando should be able to hear. Elijah is playing, of course. He doesn't come over to Orlando's place to get work done; he comes because Orlando has a talent for distraction. Whether Orlando is playing, too, Elijah is not yet certain. If he isn't playing, though, and Elijah continues to, Orlando is likely to pout -- for the entirety of the following day. Not only that but someone else will get to enjoy Orlando's pout all day tomorrow, Sean, maybe, or Dom, because he never pouts to the one that made him pout, and the day will end with Orlando crying on Sean's shoulder (because Sean's the only one with the patience after a full day of Orlando in a pout) in the middle of the pub, burbling about how everyone thinks he's a twat. So it bears consideration.
"What's this sudden obsession you've developed?" Elijah waggles a hand dismissively at him. "You, me, babies?"
"I don't really want to have babies with you," Orlando says with a half-smile and half-eye-roll, admitting without saying that he half-thinks that is what Elijah thought.
"I'm heartbroken." Elijah smiles and almost, almost feels it. A broken candy heart, maybe.
Elijah sighs. "Now you play hard to get." He scowls at himself for a millisecond for phrasing his comment in that particular fashion. He looks at his drained rum and Coke and scowls again. Captain and subtlety don't mix apparently.
"I was just thinking..."
"Against your better judgment," Elijah cuts in, modestly, because what he was thinking was despite over two decades-worth of anecdotal evidence suggesting it is a bad idea for Orlando to use his brain unsupervised.
"Ha-ha. Been hangin' around Dominic too much. Sarcasm doesn't really suit you." Orlando rolls his eyes again.
"What if I am?" Orlando says automatically.
Elijah narrows his eyes, a mockery of a suspicious glare, because he isn't, not for a second. "You're not, so stop yanking my chain."
"I can yank something else if you'd prefer," Orlando says with a proud smile.
"I would, actually, but since you're nothing but a tease and you won't, this entire conversation is a useless exercise."
"You know me so well?"
"Unfortunately, I do."
Orlando lets the silence stretch a moment. "Pity."
Elijah's still curious. What the hell had he been thinking for all that silent time before this conversation started? If you can call it a conversation without lying by omission. "What about you and me and babies?"
"Why, Elijah," Orlando puts a limp hand to his fluttering heart, "I thought you'd never ask," and flops onto the couch.
"Answer the question, you fairy!" Elijah laughs and throws a crumpled sheet of loose leaf at his head. Orlando bats it away with pleasure and grins. Something about the way Elijah laughs makes him excited, something about the way his eyes dart away immediately. Something about the way he says fairy all nasally and hard, with that 'r' just right there, not all light and high the way the Aussies say it. He doesn't know how he says it himself, tests it out silently on his lips but he can't hear it. It just sounds like it is supposed to.
Orlando clears his throat. "I was just thinking -- Shut up and let me finish. I was just thinking. Y'know, if, say physiologically, either of us were able to have babies, and say we, as in you and I -- "
"There's no one else in the room, but thank you for the clarification."
" -- COPULATED," Orlando cuts back in with a boom, "and one of us were to be gifted with the miracle of life -- Oh stop rolling your eyes, it's really not that attractive up close and personal. Ow! Stop throwing things at me, I bruise easily. We'd have really pretty babies. That's all." He shrugs and looks up at Elijah, who, by virtue of being to the left of the sofa arm he is draped across, is 'up' for Orlando.
"Well, that was devastatingly disappointing." Elijah wonders when he started using adverbs in every fucking sentence. Americans don't do that.
Orlando stretches back a bit more to look at Elijah totally upside down, his mouth opening wide with the stretch in his throat, and Elijah has to stifle a giggle because Orlando's hands are pulled up and limp, and as he talks he looks like a hungry baby bird waiting for Elijah to regurgitate into his mouth. "There's that scientific theory about the underpinnings of sexual attraction," Orlando says. And yeah, Elijah is so attracted to bird vomit. Then Orlando rolls over and the illusion is happily destroyed and replaced with puppy Orlando, his paws beneath his chin. Orlando's face goes fuzzy a second, his brow flat and eyes clouded as he thinks. "Eh, chemistry, it's called," he says, but doesn't look entirely convinced. Then he putters out. He picks at the arm of the sofa distractedly, glassy-eyed from just one drink.
Elijah remains still but looks around the room with just his eyes. When after a moment's patient wait no more on the "underpinnings of sexual attraction" is revealed, Elijah leans forward, elbows on his knees, face inches from Orlando's. He writes rapt attention on his face, a little too much to be real. "I'm slightly intrigued. Continue."
Orlando grins bashfully, found out. He may have been waiting for encouragement to continue, and Elijah did want him to continue for some reason, but he didn't have to give that attention to Orlando for free.
Neither does Orlando have to reciprocate on the house. Smiling still, he sits up, stretches long and leisurely, then crosses one leg over the other and presses his lips together prudishly, hiding a larger smile, and takes Elijah's glasses from the table, tries not to let his eyes water putting them on. Elijah doesn't think it's likely he can see a thing right now, so when Orlando then takes his own script from the crease in the couch and places it delicately on his knee, folding his hands on top, Elijah doesn't stifle the bite to his own lower lip that in turn stifles the urge to...do so many other things. Orlando is making him pay.
Orlando smirks a little through his act and then straightens and puts on an Oxford accent. "Well, supposedly, where mutual attraction derives from hormonal impulse, pheromones," he says with a twirling hand gesture, "such a coupling is ideal in reproducing the most attractive offspring."
Orlando's pupil nods once, deeply, eyes closed briefly above a smug frown. "Ah. I have heard of that theory," he adds.
"What's the antithesis to that?"
Elijah sputters laughter through his teeth. "I thought you'd been brushing up on your vocabulary."
"Indeed you have!" Elijah also pulls off an Oxford accent, badly, twirls his own hand in the air and laughs, catching the pillow thrown at him, but not before it hits his face.
"People forced into coupling wouldn't have as aesthetically pleasing results," Orlando says with finality.
Elijah's mouth forces down a smirk. "That implies that said people wouldn't be chemically attracted to each other, regardless of context."
"But if they were, then they'd still produce lovely babies, whether the act of sexual congress was consensual or otherwise."
"Hmmm. I suppose." Then a funny thing happens to Orlando's face, kind of puckers a little, then he shivers and the look is gone.
"No, just wigged out. Let's keep the conversation to people fucking in voluntary circumstances."
"Language, tsk, tsk," Elijah says and smiles at him with softly lidded eyes.
"You like it dirty." Orlando mirrors the look.
"You wouldn't know."
"Right. Well rumors are so called for a reason."
"So you like it not dirty?" Orlando licks his lips quickly and raises a brow in his direction.
"You're like a dog with a bone!"
"Woof-woof," Puppy Orlando says with his paws on the furniture again.
"What's the sudden interest in my sex life?"
"Sudden? I've always been interested in your sex life."
"Intellectually." Elijah adds with a nod.
Orlando nods back.
"Do you find me attractive?" Orlando takes the glasses off his face with a wince and sets them back down on top of his curled and mangled script. He stands, puts his hands in his pockets, realizes he's fidgeting. He picks up his slushy drink from the table; it has left a round puddle that seeps into the pages of his script.
"That's just stating the obvious," he answers finally.
"I thought you were the quicker one here."
"Indulge me, then."
"I told you, we'd make pretty babies."
Elijah nods and raises his glass to Orlando in a toasting gesture that Orlando immediately reacts to, goes to put his own forward as well before he realizes they're both empty. "You're already up," Elijah says with an expectant smile. He keeps the smile on his face as he awaits Orlando's return, and his ears prick and pick out a murmur behind the crackle of fire and ice and the soft glub and fizz of the soda coming from the kitchen. "What's that?" he calls to him.
Orlando comes around the corner again, hands him his drink. "What if my interest isn't purely intellectual? Cheers."
"It's murkier," Elijah says with his eyes on his glass.
"Two parts cola, one part rum. Just followed the recipe."
Elijah smiles lightly and takes a sip. "Wasn't complaining."
"Listen, Sean. It'll be fine. He'll be fine. Elijah's not thick. He knows what he's doing, and Orli isn't all that bad. Bit of a twat, yeah, but he means well. He wouldn't hurt Elijah on purpose. I mean, what are you really worried about?"
Sean slumps. He's soaked through and shivering. So is Dom, and he wishes Billy was here. He'd have Sean smiling and placated in two seconds flat. "I just. I just can't stand the thought..."
Dom smirks just a little. "Of what."
"Of him and..."
"Orli? ...Naked? Together?" Sean grimaces and Dom lets the grin spread across his face. Poor bastard. He's going to pay for making Dom stand out in the freezing rain all night, and for the head cold that is now inevitable. "Can't stand to think of them kissing, and licking each other's sweat-soaked bodies?" Dom sidles a bit closer to him.
"It must be unbearable to think of them grinding and huh huh huh huh, breathing heavy and stroking each other to a blissful, mind-blowing climax," Dom emotes with as much gristly enunciation as he possibly can, letting his eyes flutter closed and licking his lips.
Sean edges away. "Dom. Stop it." Sean can't even look at him.
"Or what about-"
They both get a little wide eyed and look to the nearest window of the house, realizing how loud that was as it echoes down the street and fearing they've been discovered, but they sit and watch for a few moments and nothing happens.
"Listen, Sean. Just because you don't like the idea of men having sex is no reason to stick your nose where it doesn't belong. You and I both know Elijah isn't a child. He doesn't need protecting, certainly not from Orli. Guy can't kill an ant without feeling guilty."
Sean wavers, physically and emotionally, if the look on his face is any indication, and then finally slumps one last time.
"Come on. Let's pick up your socks and go home."
They gather Sean's laundry and his beans slowly, sludge through the wet grass and puddles and head toward their cars. Dom turns halfway there, just to look back at Sean behind him because he doesn't hear him, doesn't feel him back there any more. Sean has stopped. His laundry is on the ground at his feet and a home-made bean sock is clutched in his hand, his head is turned to the window like a moth to a flame. Dom spills the beans and runs straight at him, collision course.
A startling bang against the window makes them both jump, jolts them away from their laced conversation. The window, a huge old style casing with soft hinges, takes the blow from the bird or whatever it was that met its end there and swings gently with the cold breath of the wind, letting the heat out and the rain in.
"Eh, fuck," Orlando mutters. He crosses the room quickly, one arm ineffectually shielding him from the deluge. Elijah watches his tee-shirt flap and ripple over his thin torso in the wind. He fumbles with the latch a moment and then turns and leans against the pane, dramatically dripping. Then his eyes fall on Elijah, still sitting dry and comfortable in his chair, drink in hand, and he scowls pertly. "Lot o' help you were."
Elijah beams. "I was admiring the view."
"You just didn't want to get your hair wet, Princess."
"And you look rather dashing with yours. Wet, I mean." Orlando's waxy mohawk resists the water and glitters supernaturally. Elijah would think it was intentional if he hadn't seen it happen.
"Don't I always?"
"Look dashing? Well, yes, actually. You might as well be named Orlando Dashing Bloom."
Orlando chuckles, lets his scowl go, and picks his way carefully back across the wet floor toward his friend. "Might as well." He shivers. "Now I'm cold."
Elijah pops up, leaving his drink behind. "Be back in a mo'. Try not to miss me too much." Winks and blows a kiss behind him and returns promptly with a hand towel.
"Well, that should sufficiently dry my neck, thank you," Orlando chuckles and takes the proffered cloth.
"It was the only thing hanging in the bathroom. I'm not going on a scavenger hunt." Barely has any hair anyway, Elijah thinks privately. Not like it could hold more than a teaspoon.
Orlando rubs his head and face dry and then tries to twist the tiny towel up around his head like a turban, but it really is too small. Won't stay there for more than a minute, especially with no hair. "Still dashing?"
"More." Elijah giggles, hiccups, then blushes.
Orlando laughs. "Lightweight."
"Yes, well." Elijah reaches up to tug at the hem of Orlando's water-dappled t-shirt. "Best if you take this off, you know." Gestures with his head toward the fireplace. "Sit there for a bit and dry off."
"If you want to see me naked, all you have to do is ask." Orlando's hand circles that wrist and pulls Elijah up out of his seat to stand toe to toe with him. That's it for the turban; it unravels and lies limply over Orlando's head with the fringe poking out all over. Elijah looks down and around, doesn't look at their joined hands, doesn't look him in the eye.
"I don't...I'm not..." he stutters. Elijah being coy is ridiculously frustrating. Mostly because Orlando can't tell if he's acting or not.
"It isn't." Fuck him if he doesn't have boldness on his side though.
Orlando creeps his fingers in on Elijah's arm, walks them up to his elbow and Elijah has to shuffle forward to keep himself upright. He looks up finally, calling upon a tiny back-up reservoir of bravery. "What?" he squeaks and feels hot all over because his voice isn't supposed to sound like that ever.
"My interest...it isn't purely intellectual." Orlando says quiet and personal, and leans in closer, almost imperceptibly, with his head tilting with elven gentility. "More speculative, I'd say."
Elijah almost wants to laugh and make a crack about the unfathomability of the word "intellectual" ever passing Orlando's lips; that should be the thing to do right now. A little smirk tugs there, but all he can do is parrot back to Orlando because quick quips are not within reach when he is pressed so close he can feel body heat. "Spec..." Orlando swallows the rest of that word with sweet lips pressed to Elijah's and revealing a searing hot tongue at odds with his rain-cooled skin. Elijah makes a little noise and exhales harshly, feels it on his upper lip as Orlando responds in kind. His mouth falls open and Orlando takes that opening and presses deeply onward. Elijah just lets him. His fingers come to rest on Orlando's ribs and he dips his head back to let Orlando in deeper still. When Orlando snakes a damp arm around him only a second later to lay at the small of his back, and then presses him full length to him and grinds once against his hips, Elijah's arms flail upward to link around the back of his neck. He hops, he actually hops then, and Orlando catches him under his backside turning the kiss almost bruising. The towel finally slips off Orlando's head and flops unnoticed to the floor.
Eventually though, Elijah starts to slip. He slides down Orlando's slim hips an inch at a time, feet finding the floor once again, sneakers squeaking just a little on the damp wood, and the kiss, blazing hot still and making their lips raw, finally breaks. "Babies," Elijah gasps, eyes wonky and blinking. Still huge.
"Babies?" Orlando repeats through a fuzzy smile and gets sucked in by the soft skin of Elijah's neck, kisses, licks. "Mmmm. Kind of tangy."
"Uhhhhh..." Orlando's breath right there is tickly and a shiver runs up Elijah's back. "I'm...right, that's good... Convinced." Sean is not going to like this. Whatever Elijah wants, really, really wants to do, Sean objects to. Considering how much he wants this right now, he's surprised Sean isn't here yelling and throwing things and telling him how stupid he is for wanting it. He reaches up and kisses Orlando again. "Our offspring would be quite aesthetically pleasing."
"Quite," Orlando whispers across his lips.
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