"This is a long cut. Forty-five seconds. You're just walking along the ridge. At about twenty seconds, I'll cue you and you stop, look back at Pippin. He'll catch up to you and you start walking again. Don't worry about where everybody else is. Got it?" Elijah nods and scratches very carefully through the top of his wig shifting from foot to foot the way he does. Orlando looks away, inward.
They'll spend a day at the beach perhaps. Just them. The other guys will be busy or won't want to go. Maybe it will be raining, it does that often enough, but Orlando will convince him to come out anyway. They can laugh and try to drown each other like usual. They'll surf, badly, then call it a day when Elijah's teeth are chattering and they're too tired to move anymore. Sand-burned, salty, cold, exhausted, dry-eyed. They'll go back to Orlando's place. Why. Maybe Elijah will just want to. Elijah's place is messy and he doesn't want Orlando to see it, or Orlando will just suggest it. He won't ask why. He'll just happen to have a movie that Elijah has been wanting to see. And he'll not have <em>Flipper</em> anywhere in sight. And they'll take a shower. God he wants to do that together, but that's probably pushing it. Maybe it'll happen on the couch. They'll be watching the movie, and Elijah will cuddle up to him like he does. - Orlando can't suppress the smile entirely. It's so easy for Elijah. - He won't ignore him this time, pretend he doesn't even notice like the sad pitiful git he is. He'll smile down at him, the movie playing on but neither of them paying attention anymore. He'll see it in his eyes. That look you see in the movies he wants to be in. Then he'll lean down and press their lips together. And the rest... well.
Not a good idea to take the fantasy to its natural conclusion while wearing tights.
"Ok Orlando, You have ten seconds to get from your first mark to your second. Plenty of time, so take it easy. Just make sure you're standing there by the time Merry looks at you. And don't second guess yourself on that interaction. You have it." Penny urges him back onto his mark and he glances at Elijah who is standing off to the side with his coffee. He looks like a hobbit but he's concentrating like a surgeon.
People call him immature and childish. People call them both immature and childish. No way. Maybe him, but not Elijah. For one thing, he's been a working professional for as long as Orlando has had pubes. Maybe Dom knows them a little better than that. He's the same age about. Knows where they stand, has spent more time with both of them. Elijah can act like a little kid, has the energy of one, the open mind, and it brings those same things out in Orlando. But there is so much more to him.
Orlando is quickly coming to another realization. He can't hold it in much longer. He hasn't been this star struck since Superman. Hasn't wanted to be near someone, one person and not just in general, in a while. It's killing him slowly and deliciously. He doesn't think he's being obvious. No one here knows him well enough yet for his behavior to seem unusual, but they're going to find out sooner or later. And he'd prefer to tell them, to have someone else in on the secret for the exciting parts rather than have them just find out and then avoid the subject.
"I didn't tell you so you could fucking... chew my... arse about it." Orlando growls it, his vision actually fading a little pink around the edges. He feels stupid as he usually does when he's angry. Stupid because he can't think straight enough to form words in poignant and cutting strings when his blood is pumping this fast, and when it would be most useful. Stupid for trusting. Stupid because they're probably right, but he has to defend himself anyway, doesn't he? Because he can't just admit that maybe he's wrong; not now. If he did he'd be stupid for bringing it up in the first place and not just stupid for being inarticulate and young.
"Orlando!" Billy says it as if Orlando was a child caught reaching for cookies he was just told to leave alone. "We're not trying to castigate you." Castigate. How does he come up with a word like that right now, in the middle of an argument, and drunk besides? "We're just saying that this... could be a very bad idea."
"Crazy, Orlando. He's American, he's a child star, you know about them, he says things like 'Dood you are such uh fartknockur.', and he's your castmate for chrissakes," Dominic gruffs. Orlando has begun chewing on his fingernail and trying not to get lost in all the things being said before he gets a chance to rebut. He was excited just a moment ago. He's been excited and floating for weeks. Now he's crashed, betrayed it feels like, and he wants to go back in time just a few minutes and clap a hand over his own stupid mouth before Five-Minutes-Ago-Orlando gets a chance to blow his evening. The other two are still gaping and giving him those cross worried eyes over their pints. He doesn't even want his anymore. "I mean. Bills and me. We may want to shag like rabbits, but we don't. 'S unprofessional." Dom smiles fondly at Bill who dismisses it with an eye roll and refocuses on Orlando.
"We have months left of this shoot. And then we're going to be together for premiers and appearances and-" And Bill swallows as the enormity of their futures spans out before him. Orlando has looked into it too and shivered with anticipation, fluttering stomach. Feels pretty much the same way when he looks at Lij. "And just everything. We're going to be together for a long time yet and if it went bad, you'd be stuck together and hating it. AND. Not to mention the negative impact of such a thing for both of you if it got out. No. Just, no," Bill says and shakes his head as if he were the one making the decision.
<em>But that's exactly why</em>, Orlando thinks to himself. And he realizes as soon as he's thought it that those aren't very good reasons when put in Billy's words. The first part, ok. The fact that they are going to be spending the next several months together was a plus not a minus in his mind. If this was a short film, if they were going to be leaving and going their separate ways in a few weeks, Orlando might have been able to resist the temptation to bugger everything up, or, whatever. But the fact that they have time just means that they have a chance where so many others do not. <em>A chance for something real.</em> He blushes as if Dom and Bill could hear the truly immasculine and nancy way his heart is singing at the thought. And the second part, the fact that it's fucking dangerous, well. He's a junkie. He admits it freely. And it's not limited to taunting actual death. Apparently he likes to flirt with career suicide as well. Or so he thinks at the moment anyway. He also thinks every thrill was worth the broken bones he paid with. Only thing that bugs him about it is the little voice in the very back of his head, somewhere spineless and sort of squishy, that reminds him that Elijah doesn't do stupid, risky things like throw himself off of bridges, or houses. He's not the sort to gamble away his career for something that isn't likely to pan out.
Dom is staring at Bill in an odd way that Orlando can't quite chalk up to beer, but neither does it seem to fit. He might even be looking at him the way one watches something sad but expected happen. "Why...?" Dom trails off. It seems like he wanted to define that question a little more but couldn't quite manage it. In that way only, he and Bill differ. As Dom drinks he gets less articulate, whereas Bill can get downright dangerous with his vocabulary when he's pissed. But Dom's not totally gone. His snark and concern has been replaced by honest inquiry now, and Orlando is starting to calm. Another moment and he should be able to extract the essence of words from his feelings and thoughts and get them to his mouth again without sounding like a twat.
He takes a breath and stares into his murky beer. Parts of that question he has answers for, and he knows they do too. 'Why Elijah' is easy. They're all in love with him. Even John has a soft spot for him. Possibly the only soft spot that man has. He might be asking, 'Why now', but that's straightforward too if you give it half a thought. You don't let opportunities pass you by. They may not come around again. Maybe the question is 'Why you'. What makes him so special that he deserves this? Why does he think he has a right to make the attempt never mind hang on to something like Elijah. What does he have to offer?
And Orlando deflates because he doesn't have an answer. "Maybe you're right." Stupid.
He keeps staring at his beer, but he can hear a little sad relief in Bill's voice. "Really Orlando, I know you like him. We all do. But he's too young, and you both have too much at stake."
The music and noise in the bar don't match the disappointment that is creeping into Orlando and he wants to go home. "I wouldn't be any good for him," he mumbles.
Elijah picks that moment to approach, descend, and immediately crash land into Orlando's lap. "Hey!" he says with enormous and bright eyes directed at Orlando; eyes that render him almost completely useless in seconds. He's sweaty and jungle-hot from dancing and drinking. "Beer," he says and downs several gulps of Orlando's ignored drink. "Are you guys going to sit here all night?"
He's looking at Orlando, waiting for a response, anticipating, hoping. Orlando gives him a tight smile and then pats his leg a little, stiffening beneath him until Elijah slides off Orlando's thigh onto his own seat beside him, waning.
Bill and Dom are looking at each other. Orlando flares up again inside. Betrayal is gone in the dust. This is jealousy. Not light green and just budding, but a fully formed verdant envy, glossy and rooted under their eyes. He wants that. He wants to be able to communicate with some other person like that. To just exchange a look and know what the other is thinking. And he wants to enjoy the process of developing that sixth sense. He looks back to Elijah who's looking at all three of them in turn and all he sees is confusion.
"You guys want another round or something?" Elijah tries.
"I think you've probably had enough, Doodle." Bill says softly, from somewhere else. Orlando watches as hard angles creep quietly into Elijah's face.
"Well. Then I guess I'm going home. You good to drive Lando?"
"Wait, Orlando," Dom says, glancing from Bill to Elijah and back, but he doesn't finish the thought again.
Orlando had one pint, and Elijah drank most of it. Dom and Bill, though pretty lucid Orlando can tell, are not drivable at the moment. They still have Bill's car in the parking lot, so they can't all go in Elijah's car, and there is no way he's letting Elijah drive. Ten minutes ago. Ten-Minutes-Ago-Orlando would have jumped at the opportunity. This Orlando realizes that the next hour may be uncomfortable. "Yeah," he says stiffly.
He has about ninety seconds to get himself under control, he figures. Walking out the door and to the car will take about ninety seconds. In that time he needs to stop feeling elated that he's going to be alone with Elijah for the next twenty minutes on the ride home, and he needs to start putting some distance between them. Right. Ninety seconds. Nice long shot.
"I know. I just worry about the effect it would have on Elijah. Orlando's older, more experienced than Lij."
"Yeah, so? How is that a bad thing?"
"He's going to get Elijah caught up in something he's not prepared for and it'll end badly and we'll all suffer."
"How do you know it wouldn't be the best thing in the world for him? How do you know he doesn't have any experience? Maybe this is exactly what he wants."
"Orlando thinks he's in love. And I'm a fecking idiot. He doesn't know it, but he thinks he's being martyred now that we've gone and given him his opposition, and it just makes it all that much more attractive to him. He probably thinks Elijah will find it irresistible, too."
"How do you know he isn't in love?" The pitch of Dom's voice is slowly rising. He can hear it in his head but is powerless to stop it. Rain is swooshing against the windowpane near their table.
"Because. It's Orlando."
"Well there's a fine bit of logic right there."
"He's a grown up child. I'm not saying it's his fault. Everybody is like that at his age."
Dom clenches his jaw once. "Since you have it all figured out Bill, why don't you call up Orlando's mobile and tell him exactly what <em>he</em> thinks and feels. And while you're at it, maybe you can decode <em>me</em> and tell me who <em>I'm</em> not in love with."
Bill pauses, taken aback apparently, blinks, slack lips apart like he knows now he's missed something, but maybe a little too drunk yet to analyze the situation. "Who are you in love with?" he asks softly, then, "And why are you so testy all of a sudden?" Forgetting again.
"Sometimes Bill, you can be a really thick headed prick. Come on. We're leaving."
"What's wrong with you?"
<em>I'm torturing myself. That's all.</em> Orlando rolls his head on the back of Elijah's couch. "Headache."
"You should talk."
Elijah pokes him in the head as if to see for himself where it hurts. Orlando shifts his eyes to him patiently, but then he's rubbing chewed off fingertips, round and soft into Orlando's head. Just two fingers moving in tiny circles in one spot and then moving to another. He prods around his temples like testing the freshness of a cantaloupe and Orlando's eyes slide closed. Then Elijah pokes his nose once with a nubby finger and Orlando can't help but half-smile, and his eyes crack open a sliver in time to see Elijah return it. The fingertips gain momentum and seriousness as they go back to the temples and rub in earnest. Orlando can't keep his eyes open, not in the face of this, and the quiet and the touch and the sincerity of the moment are making his pulse race. Furthermore, he wonders if Elijah can feel the speed increase in the vein under his fingers or if he's completely oblivious to the effect he has on Orlando. The idea that he might doesn't help keep his pulse down at all.
He jumps just a little when he feels Elijah's breath on his face but he has no where to go, so the jump is little more than a flinch out of an agog trance, and then his eyes open. He's right there, inches away, and no force in the Universe is strong enough to prevent it, certainly not Orlando's pitiful compliment of willpower. Orlando groans and leans in, catches Elijah's lips, tastes, feels, electrocuted and drugged, once, twice, then groans again and yanks himself away. He needs way more time to get this under control. Ninety seconds didn't do it.
He turns the other direction and mentally wrestles topsy-turvy inside his own head with the want vibrating through him. He's dizzy with it for a moment.
Elijah sighs heavily. "Not you, too."
Orlando is destitute, but the oddity of that statement catches his attention. He scowls, looks to the audience, and then back to Elijah. "What?"
"Why does everyone think I'm a naïve little child?"
Orlando gapes a little.
"Do I like just give off this vibe like I'm an idiot or something? I don't think I'm stupid... Though I suppose if I was stupid enough I wouldn't know it." He's looking bug-eyed at the carpet, exasperated.
"You're not stupid."
"Then why does everyone treat me like I need to be protected from myself?"
Orlando gapes some more. He doesn't know what else to do. It reminds him of school. Of some science class he had. The teacher delighted in asking his class questions that had no answers. Or all the answers were wrong. He knows Elijah isn't a child. Has never felt that way. But he can't deny his own actions either. Once again he feels like a dunce.
"I'm sorry," he says, for lack of something less lame to say. They sit there a while and Orlando kind of wishes he had gotten drunk at the bar. That would make this all so much easier. Well, harder later, easier now. "I don't think you're a child. If anyone is naïve, it's me. I should go," he says quickly with a shudder in his voice as he stands and leaves.
Billy and Dom, hobbited from head to toe, have been huddled off in a corner of a rain shelter all morning. Hours they've been there. Their conversation has had peaks and valleys as Orlando judged based on how wide their mouths opened as they spoke and how many hand gestures they got in, but it never stopped all morning. And then, just like the rain, at noon, it stopped. Completely and utterly. They faced opposite directions, sourly, while makeup was reapplied to their wet ears and glue fixed on their calves. They aren't speaking at all now as far as Orlando can tell from a hundred meters or so away, and he can't even imagine what sort of horror could cause a phenomenon such as that. He thought about going over and asking them just that question, break the monstrous fucking glacier that had sprung up between them, maybe a little, but he suspected the joke was just poor enough to glance off it and plop into a puddle. Dom has a mighty furrow between his brows, the kind Merry only wears when Pippin has been an idiot and Orlando finds himself frowning too. Bill just looks too old to be Pippin at the moment, and maybe a little hunched and disgusted.
Elijah, on the other hand, is scarce. Orlando is somewhat relieved to see little of him today, though. Just means he can put off dealing with last night. Of course he knows it won't last, but maybe it will last long enough that they can pretend it didn't happen. He looks around a bit, people are brushing water off of equipment and fixing scenery. Looks like they might just get a few takes in before dark. Then his eyes wander back over to Bill and Dom, and they do so just in time to see a spark of inquisitive hobbit reappear in Dom's face as he looks off to the other side of the set, more or less in Orlando's direction.
Then Elijah is standing right next to him, straight and tall, for a hobbit, script in hand with its rolled pages and yellow notes sticking out of it, including a little scrap of looseleaf with a drawing on it that Orlando had made for him some other rainy day, now stapled to the front cover. It's a loopy-haired stick figure with glasses and "Doodle the doodle" written below in exaggerated child's script.
"You don't look happy, Elf," he says very softly, so that only Orlando can hear. Funny thing is, he is happy. Right now he is, with Lij there. Nervous as fuck, but happy. He just shrugs though. Elijah scoops up Frodo's cloak and takes a seat on a folding chair next to him, leans on his knees a moment.
He can't keep looking at him. Guys don't do that. They don't just sit there face to face and look at each other. They can sit at right angles or side by side and look away, and still be sitting together, but that's it, so that's what he does. Again he's just a millisecond behind the action because as he steers away as nonchalantly as his nerves will allow, he sees Dom and Bill, no, this is Merry and Pip all the way now, not looking at Orlando or Elijah, not looking at their scripts or Pete or anybody or anything of importance, looking all around, looking at the sky, inspecting their nails. Pip goes so far as to sigh loud enough for Orlando to hear from all the way across the set and then look at him and smile big and wave as if he's only just noticed Orlando's regard.
"I had a talk with Dom last night," Elijah says.
<em>What</em> is going on? Whatever it is he doesn't think he can handle it, and he thinks about throwing Elijah over his shoulder and running away with him. The thought quirks a smile from the corner of his mouth. He turns to Elijah to find him looking at Bill and Dom too with a similar expression.
Penny is putting new marks on the ground a ways away. Pete is chatting. Ian is laughing with one of the make-up guys, and no one seems to be even slightly interested in what is going on with the elf and the hobbit sitting under the canvas glistening with sunlit raindrops.
Elijah chuckles and Orlando looks back to Dom and Bill who do it again, this time really hamming it up, whistling tunelessly and rolling their eyes around in their heads.
He chuckles once more then leans in toward Orlando. "Hey."
Orlando turns to him and all he sees is "Doodle the doodle" in his left eye before both his eyes close instinctively and Elijah is kissing him quite soundly behind the very small wall of his script. His small hand doesn't pull, just guides at Orlando's jaw and it all fits so perfectly together. Just them. And Doodle.
It's over way too quickly and Orlando is looking around dazedly and blushing. Then he sees Dom and Bill from across the set again, bouncing and tittering and laughing, their fingers tangling with each others'. Elijah just laughs, squirms in his seat a little and says, "They're such children."
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Story notes: This isn't terribly good, but it's what I came up with. I was going for layers of meaning that might come out with a second read, or a first read if you really want to digest it. Let me know if I come close to that mark at all - or fall no where near, of course.
Chapter notes: Prompt: Arcana fic challenge, card: Seven of Wands