For Shame


They always act like this. Nothing about tonight's any different than last week or the week before that.

Not for them, anyway. Abandoned they may be, but that's not going to get in the way of a proper off-night. Orlando has been here just long enough to be contently numb: faint hum of a baseline underneath so many voices, and the air holds rhythm like a body holds warmth. Elijah's smoking next to him, giggling about something. Hip pressed against his own.

No one else is pressed around them tonight, but it doesn't feel empty. The bar is full of people he'll never see again, and right now they all suffice as companions. Or something so close it doesn't really matter.

No Astin tonight. No Billy or Viggo - big surprise, that - and not even Dom anymore. Dom's out on the floor, hands on a blond girl's fabulous arse, lips drawing closer and closer.

Hot lips have found their way a bit too close to his own ear. "What d'ya think he said to her?" Elijah purrgiggles.

"Making assumptions about Dom's love life, bad kitten." Orlando takes a sip of his drink.

"What, you've never been a victim of his bad pickup lines?" Malicious little snicker, Lij is always more fun when he's feeling wicked.

"Ah yes." Orlando laughs, leans over Elijah a little, and looks him straight in the face. "Nice eyes, wanna fuck?"

"Sure!" Elijah leans in, still smiling. Close and those welcoming eyes, too deep, too inviting. Elijah knows what those eyes can do, and he abuses the privilege every chance he gets. They are nice eyes. They pull like hands at the hips, like fingers wrapped tight in hair, like teeth on sk- The expression changes, mock dismay. Drama queen. "Oh, wait, you mean with you?"

Orlando laughs. "Oh, the pain."

"Hey, baby, wanna play with my Lincoln Log?"

Now that is definitely a new one. "Your WHAT?"

"Lincoln Logs!" Lij waves his hands about, making some gesture that's surely meant to be obscene. "They're. These things. Little wooden logs, right, and you use them to make little houses. But, see, if I said 'my Lincoln Log' I would mean my dick." He couples it with a sage nod that completely contradicts everything he's just said.

"So you want me to build little houses out of your dick?" Orlando asks quickly, amused.

"No, fucker!" Lij shoves him into the wall, holding him there. Orli laughs, wrapping an arm around his neck, and ruffles his hair.

A playful punch to the stomach that's surely meant for implications rather than pain, and Elijah asks, "What's your favorite, then?"

Orlando can barely say it around his laughter. "My favorite dick?"

For penance, Orlando is given the Eyebrow, arched in a vaguely familiar shape, questioning more than Orlando's erroneous interpretation. "Well, I was asking about pickup lines, but that will do just fine."

He pushes Lij away, and, after a pause for characterization, rests a hand on his shoulder, and squints as if trying to remember something. "Fuck me if I'm wrong, but aren't you Marshall?" Innocent grin and it's so horrible that he used to love it.

Elijah just shakes his head. "Is that what Bean used on you?"

He rolls his eyes. "Now however did you guess?" Sean's line had actually been, 'Did you just lick me?' to which Orlando had replied, 'Um, yes. In fact, I'm going to do it again,' but he doesn't tell Elijah that.

Sean's not here tonight, either, but that's nothing new. Sean's not even set foot in New Zealand for two weeks; he's been done filming for months. He calls most nights, and on the nights he doesn't, Orlando remembers to call him. He always says "I miss you" and they always talk about stupid things. Weather and squirrels and Sean's kids, Peter and how much Orlando hates those fucking Elf ears. Things will be better when he can actually touch him again.

Sean never really went out drinking with them, though. Orlando never went either until he had no reason to stay in.

He's come to appreciate it. Hobbits and him, but it always works out fine. There are always warm, slightly over-friendly hands and scathing criticism that no one ever really means about accents or noses, and Billy inevitably makes less and less sense as the night goes on. They stick together and if they hit on someone, it's either within the group or as a group.

Maybe tonight's not the same at all, but he and Elijah are still ignoring it. From the notes of music he occasionally catches, it sounds as if someone might have redone "Copa Cabana," and nothing's left of the circle of flirting and teasing they've usually got save him and Lij, but that doesn't matter. Somehow he's still having fun.

"Someone should really tell Dom that he can't dance," he declares in Lij's ear.

"Nah. Then he wouldn't do it anymore."

It's true, and neither of them wants that to happen. It's so endearingly stupid. Trying too hard to be sultry, and the boy really has no sense of rhythm. Awkward, and just not self-assured enough to pull it off - but he tries so hard. And he's sexy even if he was born with a tragic rhythmic impairment. It keeps the girl close, anyway.

The girl's very pretty: soft curves and a tiny, tiny black skirt that Dom's hands occasionally disappear underneath. She's awfully short, though. The top of her head brushes at his lips, and Dom is, without a doubt, not a tall man. They stop dancing - rather, she stops dancing, and Dom stops moving his arse about like a fool - and he has to bend over to whisper in her ear.

Orlando glances at Elijah, and they both snicker. "Too easy," he declares.

"You'd think he was trying to get us to laugh," Lij agrees. Hand on his arm and he's leaning in again. "Look. He's got his sexy face on."

"Is that what it's meant to be? And all this time I thought he was annoyed by me. Oh, Dom, I never knew." Orli holds a hand to his heart.

Lij pulls it away, fingers grasping too hard and too long. "That bitch! He told me there was no one else!"

Oh, a chill slipslides through his lungs like clove smoke. "Cold," he says, knowing Elijah will put into the conversation.

"He is. We should tell her. Pick a fight. Accuse her of stealing our man."

"I don't know about that one," Orlando muses. "She's got fingernails. Look. Scary."

"We can take her," Lij insists. "No one gropes our Dom like that without getting a beatdown."

"Here they come. Now's the time. You hold her nails down, I'll pull her hair," Orli deadpans as they watch the two approach, holding hands and brushing into each other. Dom lets go of her hand gracefully, and she tries to look disinterested.

He runs his newly freed hand through his hair as he steps over to them. "Hey," he murmurs.

"Having fun?" Orli asks, not really as amused as he sounds.

"Well, uh. Yeah, quite a bit." Low rumbly chuckle, use that one for foreplay, mate.

"I feel so lonely." Orlando sniffles, smiling at him. They're just giving him shit, they'd do this any night.

"Haven't you heard?" Lij looks up and fucking bats his lashes at Orlando. "It's seduce-a-hobbit night."

"Shut up!" Dom grabs Lij by the arm, but he's trying to stifle laughter too hard for it to be effective.

Orlando shakes his head, grim face. "You're taking your role too seriously, man."

"Shh!" he hisses, drunken giggle. "She. She's not that short."

"Dude," Elijah drags it out, stupid and comical. Duuuuuude. "She's just using you in hopes of getting feet."

Orlando squints indiscreetly. "She's wearing high heels, too. Oh, that's bad, Dom."

"She is NOT that short."

"I mean, will that affect the logistics of shagging?" Lij asks, frowning in concern.

"Nah." A pat on the shoulder. "It works out fine. Just don't try to do her in the shower." Orlando actually means that. It can get pretty awkward.

"SHUT. UP." Dom's really red now, all the way to the tips of his ears. Embarrassment sits well on his face, and Orlando just can't stand talking about this as if it's serious any longer.

Elijah practically cackles, malicious little man tonight, and places a hand lightly at the small of Orli's back. "We're just fucking with you, man. Going home with her?"

"Actually, ah." He rubs his hands together, glances over at the girl. "I sort of. Asked her back to our place. You know, Sean and Billy being gone, and Ian's out too, it's just you and me and I figured…"

Orlando lets his eyes go wide, and he speaks with hushed awe and concern. "She's talked her way into our set? She really is trying to get hobbit feet."

"Bitch, you're sexiling me because you want to get it on with a hobbit?" Lij exclaims.

Dom looks behind him in dismay. "Fine. She's short, but she's HOT. So be quiet, would you? I mean, do you really mind?"

And there's Lij's petulant face. "This hurts, man. Really… Oh, hell, I know you need to get laid. Go ahead."

Satisfaction floods his eyes. "You're fine with staying elsewhere for a bit, then?"

Elijah looks at him, and his eyes are really sort of disturbing. No hint of lust now, no sympathy or joking around, just a sense of purpose so faint that it's like catching it in the corner of his vision. "Sure. I'll stay with Orlando tonight."

Dom claps his hands together once. "Great, Lij, you're really a great guy. Orlando, you don't mind, do you?"

Orlando shakes his head and looks at Dom's girl, standing patiently to the side, purse loose in her hands. For a second she looks back at him, with an expression similar to Lij's. She looks away quickly, eyes fixed upon something in the crowd. "Not at all. That's just fine with me."

It's probably time for Orlando to admit that tonight is a little different.


They walk back and Orlando keeps checking his level of sobriety. Trees definitely not dancing. Check. He and Elijah are walking at a fairly regular pace, a good two feet between them. Towards his place. Hands in his pockets, lips shut tight, wide-eyed and definitely awake. Straight line for five paces, check.

"Don't get me wrong, I feel like we've all totally come together." Lij talks too fast, words sparking as they scrape against the sides of his mouth. "We all build off each other, and on the set? Wow. Because, like, we've all got this feel for our characters and everyone else's characters but also everyone else as their characters. It's messy but somehow it fits together just perfect, all of us and the movie."

Walking while occasionally glancing at Elijah, all without falling over. Check.

"But there are all of these… gaps. Especially now, because we've been here so long that everything's settled. We all fit exactly where we should, but sometimes there are… Like Dom and Billy, they always fit together these days, and Karl and Viggo usually. Right? I mean, do I make any sense?"

He smiles kindly. "Sure. As much as you ever do." Capable of uncomplicated speech. Check.

Soft chuckle, not the high-pitched giggle he knows Lij for. This is a calculated laugh. "Yeah. But there are still gaps, because some people settled really close and others didn't and things shift over time. And you fit in wherever you find yourself, but you don't necessarily have a spot like Billy does."

Now he's even beginning to get the general idea of what Lij is saying. Check.

Perhaps that's a check.

"I mean, you're not. You know." Lij gestures uselessly.

Orlando slows down slightly, raising an eyebrow. "A hobbit?"

"Yeah, but that's exactly what I mean." Lij is talking fast again, too fast to be drunk. "I thought that's what it was in the beginning, I thought I was a hobbit and that was where I would automatically click into place, always. It's nice to be a hobbit, and I love being around them. We always have fun, but I know some things… Just aren't there."

Orlando knows what's coming, and the next words out of Elijah's jazzed-up mouth are "So it makes a lot of sense. You. Me."

Heading home with the casual knowledge that he's going to cheat on Sean and enjoying it. Uncheck. Perhaps a big red "NO" or "YOU FUCKING CUNT."

"What, because we 'fit' or just sort of by default?" he asks, fingers pulling at the keys. Chink, chink, chink.

Orli looks away from the pavement just in time to catch the shrug. "Dunno. Maybe both. Maybe neither." Casual like sex, Lij has justified it for them both, no need to question. Wide grin, unexpected. "Maybe we're both too drunk to philosophize."

"Hah!" he answers, and he knows that says it all. Besides, they're at the path to his door now. They're done philosophizing no matter what.

He thinks that maybe later he'll try to forget how drunk he wasn't.


Lij pins him down to the bed and Orli nearly laughs aloud. Small and scrawny and growling like a kitten. Fingers scramble around his wrists: ragged tips and delicate palms, soft and maimable. Thick fingers save the hands from femininity; girly hands cuffed around his own, binding him to his mattress. When Sean pins him down it's by the hips: he leaves his hands free to explore.

Orli wraps one leg around the thin body (very thin, his leg is startled by the fragile waist it finds) to pull him into the kiss. Lips bump together and it takes them a second to get a feel for it. Hot and hard, not the semi-chaste, teasing brushes of lip that go against the obscenity of Sean's tight grip and growing hardness. The fingers react, tightening and Elijah's nails would be digging into his pulse points at the wrist just like Sean's do against his back - but of course they don't exist.

It doesn't even register as a kiss, it's that different. His taste and his lips and his - fuck - his teeth. Little puppy-ish teeth digging into his lip and tiny little arms, little gasps against Orlando's lips. The kiss is sloppy and needy and jerks his waist upward.

He braces himself, and pushes: tumble of limbs and taut muscles, and they clatter against each other as they roll. But there's Lij under his hands, squirming and yeah, that's better. He pushes his hips forward, and Elijah gasps, legs spreading, definitely better. He licks at Elijah's neck, smooth and stubble-free, fingers sliding between his fragile, alabaster skin and his waistband. Arched back and a whimper: a high-pitched sound he can't even imagine coming from Sean's throat. He bites down on the neck and there's the whimper again, and hands pulling urgently at the buttons of his shirt. It's different, completely different, and he loves it.

'Cheater' is etched somewhere in the front of his mind, but it's a detached reminder. He doesn't ignore it and it doesn't really change anything.


Fucking is so different that Orlando doesn't even think to compare.


He's been with Sean for five months and hasn't fucked it up yet.

No one had expected the hookup, least of all him. In fact, his initial thought after drunkenly licking Sean and proceeding to kiss him had been, "Oh shit. Bean's straight."

His next thought had been, "Wow, for a straight man he's awfully good at that."

Sean was definitely not entirely straight, he found out as the night went on. They talked about it, lay on his bed facing each other for hours and they'd actually talked. An impressive collection of ex-girlfriends and ex-wives, and the ex-boyfriends were, fortunately for him, a bit more quiet.

Orlando isn't usually a listener, but that night it was worth it. He'd been truly fascinated, not just by the stories ("With Pierce Brosnan?!?!") but by the low, wavy voice, the fingers that trailed distractedly along Orlando's body as he spoke.

Morning had been early and awkward, and the next time they managed the nerve to look each other in the eye, it was in a secluded corner so they could properly kiss.

Orlando doesn't remember when it stopped being just a fling, but after a while everyone knew about it. Sean smiles when they tease him, and Orlando used to egg them on - he doesn't hear as much about them any longer, though. Absence makes the gossip die.

They've planned for Orli to come stay with Sean when shooting's done, and in the meantime Sean just visits when he can. They phone each other and that's really all they've got in between meetings. Orlando still doesn't mind listening.

Even now, dirty with Elijah's fingerprints, he can remember the way Sean's voice changes with the word "love."


The next morning he shakes under the scalding bullets of water, washing Elijah from his skin.

He'd awaken and remembered everything instantly. Elijah. Walking back here. Fucking twice on these sheets. Sean. He'd gone straight to the shower, giving himself a moment before facing it all. At any rate, clarity of thought was more likely if he wasn't looking at Elijah Wood lying on his bed with salty hair and dried-over just-got-fucked lips.

His fingers are red now, under the hot water. Scalding and shaking and he tries to think about exactly what this means. Stupid. Cheating on Sean, with one of Sean's friends, in a circle this close, can only be described as STUPID. If Sean finds out, it's going to hurt them both awfully, everyone will be horrified. Messy and worse yet, probably public, further aggravating everything. If the movie's as big as Peter keeps saying, it will be a scandal: Sean's talked about star scandals before and Orlando's always listened and cracked wiseass jokes once or twice.

And Sean. He can't even imagine the way Sean's face would look if he were to find out. Shocked or angry or - he's never seen Sean really upset, crushed. He can't wrap his imagination around it and never wants to. And then there's…

None. He turns off the water and stands alone in the steam for a moment, wishing he had some real sense of guilt.

He doesn't know what to do when it doesn't come, and he grabs a towel, dries off thinking about that. He should. There are a thousand things he should do or feel.

He steps back into his room inconclusive about all of them.

Lij is still lying in his bed, but he's awake now. He's sprawled over Orli's sheets, scruffy-haired and satisfied-eyed. A knot of arms and sheets and decadence. "Morning," he greets him with a smug little smile.


Elijah stays in Orli's room the next night too, and really doesn't leave that day, either.


Orlando revises his philosophy on human nature after two weeks. Human nature, he decides, is the tendency toward evil, companionship, and routine. He's proven the first two before, and not with Elijah.

Routine, though, it's a very serious possibility. The first things people seem to do in a new situation is sort themselves into some kind of pattern. He was in the hospital a few years back, and watched a lot of daytime television (can't do much else with a broken back). Interviews with survivors marooned on islands, held hostage, the hosts were fascinated with them. And they always talked about how they organized things so it felt normal: made routines. Wake up, eat some coconut, track and kill a squirrel all day, cook it and eat it, and go to bed. Lather, rinse, repeat. And it's true, everyone does it. Routine seems to be some kind of freakish staple of human life itself. Surely the Dalai Lama has written something on routine, because this feels like the sort of the Buddhists would be into.

This, for example. Him and Elijah.

He doesn't even feel right thinking "me and Lij," because they aren't. They're not a "we" and the closest they ever get is knotted tight in each other's hair and limbs, sweaty and sticky and screaming as they come… Okay, so that's probably pretty close, after all.

He doesn't think of them as "we" and that's part of the routine. They don't hold hands or call each other. They don't go on dates and they certainly don't buy each other shit. They don't even really talk very much.

They act exactly like they did before, and that's half of the fun. No one has any clue because they're constantly balancing it out. The occasional hug is fine, flirting, punches, even a drunken lick would be laughed off. That's just they way they are, and maybe Elijah was actually on to something that first night, rambling about how they fit. They do fit, this relationship fits.

They just don't fit until they find the right time. At nightfall everyone finds something to do, and no one really cares if Orlando's got someplace else to be, if Elijah happens to be missing as well. They steal - no, "catch" seems a better word - kisses outside the makeup trailer from time to time, when it's absolutely safe. An occasional touch when things are busy reminds them, keeps them interested.

He watches Elijah a lot now. Now he actually notices the way he looks like Frodo even when he's just listening to Peter's directions, the way Lij dazes in and out of conversations, how serious the nail-biting and cigarettes addictions really are. Lij has never said anything about it to him, but sometimes Orlando catches his eye when he turns. Sometimes he doesn't, but he feels the eyes studying him anyway.

They fuck inconsistently, but even experimentation seems like it could become a routine. Positions, places, and last time there was whipped cream: riotously stupid and messy and obscene. It's always light-hearted, and it's always astounding.

He thinks about Sean a lot right before and right after. Never during.

He never feels guilty. The first morning, he felt guilty about not feeling guilty, and now even that's gone.


He answers the phone on the third ring with, "I'm not wearing anything but my panties."

A low rumble of laughter. "What if someone else had been calling?"

"Then Peter would have stammered and hung up just like he did last time." Orlando leans backwards until the wall supports his body. "How are you?"


"Ah, really?" He pushes the pages of script around the bed with his toes. Sean sounds exciting about something; he's luring Orli into his declaration.

"Oh yes. What's your shooting schedule like for the weekend?"

He sits upright, pleasantly surprised. "I'm going to get you to myself for a whole weekend?"

"Friday night to Sunday night, if all goes well. What's the schedule?"

He has to close his eyes before remembering. "Long day on Friday, and Saturday morning, but I don't have anything on Sunday."

"Good." Sean's voice when he's pleased with him is delicious.

Orlando knows he's grinning like a fool. "Very."

For the rest of the conversation, it's light-hearted, excited banter about how old Sean is, condoms, and everything they've missed out on for the past four weeks.

He doesn't even realize that this could be a problem until five minutes after hanging up.


They never kiss afterwards. They collapse and gasp and recover: like putty slowly returning to its original shape. They clean up and joke around a little, they talk most right before one of them leaves. They make out as they get dressed: Orlando pulls Lij's shirt over his head, and traces a trail down his chest with his tongue, following it with the hem of the shirt. They wave goodbye instead of kissing, and shout putdowns or obscene jokes to each other instead of "sweet dreams."

Tonight was good, and they're closer than usual: Elijah's ear pressed to Orlando's chest, bodies held together as if by static. A hand drifts lazily down his side, and it's so hot that Orlando expects to find a trail of melted Elijah there when he looks. That's the only motion either will manage for quite some time in the sweltering heat or the hum of contentment.

It's post-coital stupidity and Orlando decides that he needs to say it. "You know that Sean and I are still…" Or maybe he can't.

Maybe he doesn't need to. "I know." Elijah's voice buzzes against his ribcage, echoes inside him.


The ball of trepidation in Orlando's stomach has dissipated, and he can't name the new presence there.


Sean's face softens when it smiles. It doesn't light up or explode with joy; smiles come casually and whisper for the recipient to relax. That was one of the reasons Orlando liked Sean, he remembered.

Their bodies slide together instead of clacking against each other, and he kisses Sean with the bittersalt taste of Lij clinging to the back of his tongue. Sean's lips have become unfamiliar, and Orlando beams when he pulls away. "Miss me?" he asks.

"Oh, not at all," he laughs. Sean pulls him close, another peck on the lips and Orlando feels fantastic. Recharged.

Sean's hands creep under his shirt, just an inch, and he whispers in his ear. "Can't wait to properly get my hands on you."

"Break it up, you two," Billy interrupts suddenly, hands on Sean's shirt, pulling him away. "We've missed our Seanie, too."

They laugh and Sean's passed around: Billy, Viggo, and… Orlando's stomach knots in something like excitement. Elijah.

The airport is gloriously whitewashed and bland; Lij and Sean stand beautifully against it. They're that much more colorful, more lifelike. More dangerous. He realizes now, watching Lij and Sean hug with bright faces, that this is positively suicidal.

Lij lets go and looks right at Orlando. And he laughs.

"Well, come on," Viggo says. "Are we going or not?"

Billy walks ahead of them, in a rush for something, and Orlando grabs Sean's hand as they walk towards the end of the terminal. Rough, sturdy fingers: they feel too big between his own, but it's a nice presence and he clenches them tighter. They warm his body, mittens but of course they're far better than that.

Lij walks on the other side of Orlando, and their fingers occasionally happen to brush against each others'.


Sean holds on to him, whereas Lij just sticks. Hands grab his complacent arms and he moves easily, like a tree bowing to the wind. Stubble scrapes his lips, pulls at the skin.

With Sean, he feels a bit weak after sex, or at least more malleable than usual. He's lying over a still-made (albeit wrinkled and damp) bed, back to the ceiling. The television is on, Sean does that a lot, and Sean's hands are moving along his skin.

His skin feels thin today: he can feel Sean's pulse through those coarse fingertips. Circles skating over his backbone, and that faint rhythm pushing them deeper into skin that's forgotten how this works.

Orlando hasn't forgotten. He's thought about Sean everyday, and he missed him. He just learned to separate him in his mind, to close him off from the rest of what was here in New Zealand. In his mind, Lij and Sean don't cross over, and maybe that's why his body is so surprised by Sean.

It's not uncomfortable, though: his skin revels in the juxtaposition. He wants to sink into Lij after this to alarm his nerves, like jumping into a hot tub after walking through cold air and pulling back out. Like the way Elijah bites into Orlando's neck and mollifies the marks with his tongue an instant later.

"God, I've missed you," is breathy and serious.

Orli smiles into the bedsheets. "I missed you, too."

"Tell me what it's been like the past few weeks," Sean says, hands trusting as they brush over his back.


Breakfast is communal on days like these, and Sean's bleary-eyed and silly in the mornings. He's poking at a muffin, grumbling about how the coffee certainly didn't get any better and why is he up at this hour in New Zealand where he doesn't even work anymore with the worst jetlag in the history of mankind?

Orlando sits next to him, resting his head on Sean's shoulder. "Because of that thing I do with my tongue, remember?"

The room explodes in riotous laughter and even blushing is ruggedmanlysexy on Sean. A hand creeps, embarrassed, onto his knee, "Well, I suppose that's fairly convincing."

"'Convincing' is a weak adjective, don't you think?" Orlando leans against Sean, winking.

Finger pressed to his lips. "Shh. Don't want them to get jealous."

Elijah's watching them, running his eyes through the hairs at the back of Orli's neck. "They were jealous the moment you stepped back on this island and kissed me." He brushes his lips briefly against Sean's: coffee and Sean-flavor.

"None of that at the table, now," Dom chides them, swinging his legs into the seat next to Orlando. "You'll spoil the breakfast."

"You're taking your role too seriously, hobbit," Sean jokes.

Orlando leans an elbow on the table, face close to Dom's. "Haven't we had this discussion before?"

Dom stops chewing and looks up at Orlando with a vicious glare. "We don't speak of such things when I'm too sleepy to react." With that, he takes another gulp of coffee.

A thick hand brushes against his neck. "You always have too much energy in the mornings. It's almost sickening."

Orlando turns his head for a moment, kissing the hand quickly. "Nah, you're just old."

"Old?" Viggo interjects good-heartedly. "We can't bounce off of walls at six in the morning because we're too decrepit? And what of our dear lady Liv?"

Liv's in the corner, hovering around her second cup of coffee. She glances up for only a moment, and lifts the middle finger of her right hand in greeting.

"We're just not morning people," Sean agrees.

The door opens, ushering in cold air and Sean Astin. He sits down next to Elijah at the other end of the table. "Morning," he mumbles.

"Another for our side," Viggo declares with a smiling tone. "And Sean's certainly not old."

The other Sean ("straight Sean" they sometimes call him half-jokingly) shakes his head. "I'm willing to believe that I'm old if it will excuse me from being awake this early. And they're calling for you in makeup, Orli."

"Oh!" Orli clamors to his feet, unwrapping his arms from Sean's neck. A peck on the cheek and he straightens up, calling out, "Later, then!"

He stops to stretch out a bit after walking a few feet. It's going to be a long day, and it's going to take a lot. He can't wait.

"Hey!" Familiar little call, and he turns quickly. There's Elijah, wry smile carved into his face, eyes shining with the last lonely stars.

Orlando grabs him by the wrist, blood thrilled by the possibilities. He yanks him behind the wall, pushing close, tongue parting eager lips. Lij tastes like orange juice and contrast.


Around noon, standing on fake moss with a bow in his hand, Orlando jumps with surprise when Elijah's arms snake around his shoulders. John hardly glances at them: simple affection, and he certainly can't see the teeth grazing Orlando's neck.

Orlando twirls easily (it might be stupid, but he always feels more graceful in this costume) to face the wide grin. "Hey," he greets him, reaching out to tickle his sides.

Lij jerks away just soon enough, avoiding Orlando's fingers. "How many lines in this scene?" he asks with a grin. That Elijah. What a cunt.

"Well, we can't all be the angst-ridden hero. I'm just here for the sex appeal." He licks his bow for emphasis. Slow. Purposeful. Eye contact the entire time, and he takes enough time to notice the faint sting of paint against his tongue. "Oh yeah. You know you're thinking about me."

The makeup girls laugh and Elijah just smiles wider. "Already was, lovah." A wink, a "my place tonight," a swagger in his retreating steps.

The imitation moss would be welcoming if Orlando pushed Elijah to the ground. It would feel cool against their arms and sides as they wrestled, and it would hold Lij tightly enough for Orlando to shove in closer to him, wet kisses and slow-moving fingers like his tongue on the weapon. He could taste him with his fingertips: the silk of his collarbone, the tang of his stomach. Creamy, sweet whimper-breaths echoing off the walls and crawling through springy plastic vegetation before tickling their way into his pointed ears. Lij's fingers would tug at the ears and he could slap them away playfully: "Uh-uh," chide him like the child he is, and he would squirm, back rubbing deeper into the set.

He tosses the bow into his right hand and turns to answer Peter's call. The best part about the "I could" in the fantasies is that he can.


Elijah kisses him before he even turns the doorknob, and Orlando has coaxed Elijah's shirt onto the floor before the door is shut. A shove and they're off balance, bodies bouncing off of the floor. "Ow!" Lij hissing, laughing, and it's not the set but it will suffice.

Orlando presses his hands into the carpet as he kisses him, aware that he'll touch Sean with rugburned palms tonight. Blunt fingertips knife into his ribs, and he can't quite balance as he fumbles with Elijah's zipper. He pushes his body upwards, and they tense together as the zipper inches downward. Little metal teeth parting one by one, pushed apart and gaping, and it's about fucking time, Orlando pulls away from Elijah's lips to pull his jeans down. He crouches at Elijah's waist, straddling already-trembling thighs, and glances up when a shadow crosses over him. Someone walking past the window, and it occurs to him that he'll be able to see everyone walking by.

He places his hands carefully on Elijah's stomach, crawling down until they're lined up perfectly on his scrawny hips, and licks the very tip of his cock. Lij squirms in his hands, and he presses down more firmly. He takes a moment before closing his lips around the head, and Elijah moans a little as he slides past Orli's lips, thick and hot.

Orlando pulls back slowly before catching a rhythm, tongue wrapping around Elijah's cock as he gasps for air. He pushes Lij into him and another shadow falls over his face, another passer-by. Excitement curls around the base of his spine like a depraved lapdog, and he pulls Elijah in faster.

Again, again, and Lij pulls upwards, shuddering, fingers playing through Orlando's hair, over the tips of his ears, drawing tighter into themselves as the moans grow louder.

"Hey, Lij, are-" The door swings open and Dom steps in. It takes him a moment to realize that they're on the floor. Orlando looks up from Lij and meets his eyes, watching the implications spread slowly across his face.

Eyes widen and jaw drops open a little, and finally something lights behind the whites of his eyes. Orli tightens his grip and Lij comes cooing and scratching at his arms.

Orli rises from Elijah's body, wiping his lips off, and watches the door slam shut.


They all go out that night, just like they used to, months ago. Orlando rests his hand on Sean's arm when Billy cracks a joke, and smiles just because Sean's smiling and it's beautiful. He turns his head; Elijah's laughing, too, his eyes on Orlando. Orlando lets the smile slip suggestively off of his face, and Lij bites his lower lip. Desiring.

That's the best part.

"Multitasking?" comes unexpected, dry and caustic. He swivels and faces Dom's dark eyes, the face holding them clenched like a fist.

"Evening," he greets him. Dom's upset, he knows that. Upset for Sean or Elijah or maybe even Orlando's moral well-being; for the dynamics of the group as a whole or fear that he played a part in it. Orlando doesn't know, and he couldn't do anything to help right now even if he did.

Dom leans in, nervous expression. Says it in his ear as if they're grade school boys telling secrets. "For shame, Orlando," he murmurs, low and almost growly; deep in his throat like it hurts.

Orlando blinks twice, caught off guard. "No," he replies, because it's not.


"It's not fair," Dom finally says. "To either of them. Orli, you can't do this, you've got to tell Sean."

Orlando thinks about that as he sits at the table, crammed between Sean and Elijah, shoulders and fingers brushing so much it's dizzying; he's drunk on sensation.

"So we're about to do some of the Ent footage," Peter starts, and Billy, down the table, turns an autumnal red. "And we're all looking at the trees a bit - they're quite scary, you know. Big terrifying trees."

"Okay, okay, just get on with it!" shouts Billy, crimson now but smiling good-naturedly.

Orlando brushes his cheek against Sean's, bumps their noses gently together, and brings his arms up to rest on the table.

"So I was showing Billy and Dominic the trees today, now that they're done. Talking about what they're made out of, how the scenes are going to work, the usual," Peter says with a wolfish grin and a few gestures that are obviously meant to signify trees.

And there is a hand on Orlando's crotch.

He bites back surprise because someone is groping him and that's probably not the sort of thing the table needs to hear. It would take away from Pete's story and it would probably alarm the man beside him who's not currently feeling him up.

Which would be. Um. He's not sure which man is groping him, or which isn't, and he shivers as the fingers stroke him.

"At some point Billy gets a bit too close to one of the trees, and of course he happens to get his shirt snagged on one of the branches."

He doesn't know whose hand it is and that's terrifying, deliciously intimidating and what if the other man was to reach for him? What if fingers should meet along his cock? A moment's pause before they both realize what's going on, before both hands jerk away and everything that Orlando's been balancing explodes in from of him. That is danger, and that's fucking amazing.

"So when he starts to walk away, the shirt sticks to the branch and yanks him backwards, and he lets out this shriek."

Billy's head is in his hands and someone's hands are moving too skillfully. The thrill of danger and guessing and closing off his throat all just make it better, and it cycles downward, stirring deep in Orlando's body.

"Billy, come on, shriek for us!" Peter urges, and the others agree.

Billy rolls his eyes as if to decline the demand, and screams unexpectedly, high-pitched and shriller than any woman Orli can think of, and it's just too much, Seanlijseanlij, any more will push him over the edge. He reaches out, hands on each of their arms, and it stops. Sean smiles at him, grabs his hand and holds it close in his own, cradling it. Elijah giggles, face glowing in delight and oh, God, that was hot and they both know it.

Orlando looks up after his breathing slows a little, and instantly sees deep brown eyes, caught a bit off guard.

Dom is watching them, unabashedly staring. There's no passion in his eyes now. Earlier today there had been rage for morality's sake, and now Dom just looks questioning. Uncertain of what he'd seen earlier.

He gets it.

Orlando thinks that he finally does, too.


Airport again and it's just as drab as it is every time. Even Sean seems watered down when they say goodbye in the airport, as if he fades out of being instead of walking through the security check. Faint smiles, dulled eyes, grim promises that they'll talk tonight, that he'll miss him, that they'll be together soon.

This is how it always is, and at the same time it's different. Wrong. Every other time he's gone home to an empty bed, and could smell Sean in his room for at least the next night. He never lets them mingle in his mind, but in reality they do: scents and bite marks melt together in the end.

Dom was right, it's not fair to either of them, and that's not fair, either. But neither is this airport or their arrangement or anything, ever, really.

It's all arbitrary, and fairness is just what works best at the moment.

Sean's arms tighten, pulling him closer to his chest. Orlando lets his lips move, nods, and thinks of Dom's eyes as realization dawned on them. Staring at him and Elijah on the floor, and then again from across the table, and he'll never know which one this moment feels exactly like.

Sean cocks his head to the side, manly sad eyes he's never seen anyone but Sean accomplish. "Are you okay?"


Elijah's outside, leaning against the wall, body grudgingly curled away from it. A slouch, and it looks as stupid as it sounds because Elijah's such a fucking kid. Twenty years old, and barely that. Orlando feels as old as Sean every time he looks Sean in the eyes and hears that they're in love, and Elijah just pushes it. That's all he's ever done for Orlando: push. Toe the line, he knew he'd get what he wanted all along. From that night in the club, probably even before then. Elijah is a kid, but he's good at it. He uses it.

And he pulls it off, the same way he pulls of his goddamned slouch. It's casual and relaxed and sexy, enough to remind Orlando that he can detense now, it's just Elijah.

"So did you tell him?" he asks, body disinterested, eyes sharp and anticipating.

Orlando closes his eyes and there's the taste of Sean on his lips, rough fingers pressed to his face, whispers that echo throughout his whole body. Tonight they'll talk and Orlando will mean it when he whispers that he wishes he hadn't left, he wishes he could touch him, come back. Sean will answer "soon," and it will warm Orlando from the stomach out.

Things work better when Sean's here.

He shakes his head. "Nah."

No inane giggles in response to that, Elijah's less of a kid than he'd like everyone to believe. Just a knowing curve of his lips, and he pushes away from the wall, body straightening as if smoothed by some kind of cosmic hands. Their fingers mingle but only for a second, and Orlando permits him the same smile he just gave his boyfriend.

The kiss is sweeter, shorter, and more distant than all the ones of the weekend have been, but Orlando likes it quite a lot. When Elijah pulls away, they walk towards the car without holding hands.

They work better with Sean, too. Elijah's no child, Sean's not being harmed, and Orlando just isn't one to try to fix something that works fine.