Dom wasn't quite sure how it had happened, but he was always the one Orlando would call. It had gotten to the point that the phone would ring, Lij would dig it out from under all the clothes and the various junk that had piled up on the sofa (Orlando had learned to let the phone ring for a long time), take one look at the caller ID, and hand the phone over to him. At first, he had assumed it was some kind of British thing, and that Lij believed he was better equipped to deal with Orlando, based on the fact they shared the same passport. Americans could be strange that way.

After a few months of phone conversations, he realized with some mild surprise that it was no longer just the Hobbits and the Elf group dynamic, but there was also a nice Dom and Orli thing going on. Almost like they were getting to be really close friends, just the two of them, which had never quite happened back in New Zealand.

Of course, Dom had other close friends in the fellowship. He shared impeccable comedy timing with Billy, and he loved to crawl all over Lij and make inappropriate sexual comments to see how much it would take to fluster him. Oddly enough, he was usually totally unsuccessful.

He had been living with Lij in cramped quarters for over two months, happy as a clam, when it came to be that Orli had decided he was moving to LA for his career. Dom wasn't terribly surprised; after all, Orli had the kind of looks that landed you starring roles in Hollywood productions. Not that he would ever have admitted it without a lot of beers in his body first. It was more fun to tease Orli about his hair growing back and all those little curls popping up. Cute really, but then see the beer issue again.

Dom, of course, immediately volunteered himself as the expert for relocation in LA. If you ignored the fact that Lij had pretty much let him crash at his mom's house without rent and that he had never made the effort of looking for his own apartment, or tried to sign on for his own phone. The most daring thing he had done lately was to buy his own car. But then, Orli wasn't much the teasing type, and he had just gratefully accepted his help.

He hadn't quite counted on the fact that it meant he'd have to help Orli unpack, though. Lij had been supposed to help, but he had been called away on some last minute article about Rings, and Dom had ended up the only one helping Orli on a hot Californian morning. Of course, the air conditioning wasn't working yet, for some mysterious reason. Dom had told Orli the only way to get a repairman promptly in this city was to offer sexual favours, but Orli had declined trying this route.

"You want me to pass you the phone?" Orli had asked him pointedly, holding a hand over the receiver, even though it had annoying on hold music blaring out of it. "Maybe you can bat your eyelashes and falls on your knee and get my unit fixed."

"Are you saying I should offer to give a blowjob to the repair guy?" Dom had asked after sticking beers in the fridge, and mentally urging them to cool off faster.

"You said it, not me," Orli had only replied, and then he was talking to someone on the phone, sounding good-natured, not at all like a guy who was being told no by a snotty secretary.

Dom wasn't quire sure Orlando was cut for surviving life in the States.


Dom was feeling remarkably mellow, for a guy who had lugged around heavy boxes all day. But he was holding his prizes in his lap, a cold beer and a hot pizza, and lying in a chair out on the deck. You could endlessly tease Orli about his taste in clothes, but at least he knew how to pick a house. Dom had a pretty good view of the beach from where he was, without even needing to squint. The new place had obviously started in life as a kind of vacation getaway and had since been renovated to fit more picky tastes. There was marble in the bathroom, for god's sake.

"I think I could live here," Dom announced, before working on draining the bottle in one swallow.

Orli didn't answer, too busy soaking up the last ray of the sun, but a smile found his way on his lips for a moment.

"Not that I plan on moving in," Dom added, feeling perfectly at peace with the world. "What would Elwood do without me?"

"He'd have his couch back, I expect," Orli said, sucking on his bottle in a manner that Dom's tired brain found vaguely obscene.

"What makes you think I'm not in his bed?" Dom said, propping his legs on the railing.

Orli finally took off his sunglasses to look at him. Dom was expecting the usual pat on his head and to be assured he was straight, but Orli surprised him.

"You could never get that pretty thing in bed, dream on."

"I think I'm insulted. You're saying I'm not pretty enough?" Dom leaned over and tried to give Orli sultry look.

Orli snickered and waved him away.

"You'd be pretty if you stopped making faces, mate."

Dom paused in stripping away the label from his bottle.

"I could be in your bed tonight, if you want?" he offered brightly. "I don't want to drive back out tonight."

Orli choked on his mouthful of beer. Dom waited for him to speak with a smug expression, wiggling his toes in time with some internal music. Maybe it was circus music.

"You can make friend with my couch, if you want. Just try not to hump it," Orli said, finally recovering from his coughing fit.

"I never could... the flower print is just hideous!" Dom said, putting a dramatic hand over his brow.

Orli eyed him for a while longer.

"Are you sure you're not gay after all?"

"Wouldn't you like to know," Dom said, still wiggling his toes, this time at a more sedate pace.

Orli was about to say something, but was interrupted by a loud crash inside the house. They both turned around and looked through the patio door, just in time to see one of the mugs bouncing back on the floor for a final time, after having apparently collided with the wall with a bit too much enthusiasm. Dom noticed that the wallpaper was really hideous too.

"The hell?" Orli said, flinging himself out of his chair and running back into the house.

Dom carefully peered in the kitchen, unconsciously holding his bottle like a weapon. It was still empty, and the door was locked, which Orli tested to be sure.

"That's weird," Dom said, staring at shattered mug.

"You can stop hiding behind me, you know," Orli pointed out, running a hand through his hair and sending unruly curls in every direction.

"Someone's got to have thrown it, it's not possible," Dom insisted, still peering at the rest of the house, his chest to Orli's back.

"There's nobody in the bloody house," Orli said patiently, and Dom had a flash of a grown up Orli who had started to lose his hair, trying to convince a daughter with huge brown eyes and curly hair like a Spaniel that there was no monster in the closet.

It was a disturbingly cute image, and he shook himself out of it.

"Hm," Dom said, picking up the bigger pieces, still not straying very far from Orli. Just in case.

"Hm," Orli agreed. "I hope I didn't buy a ghost along with the house."

"That would be kind of awkward," Dom agreed.

"You're supposed to tell me I'm crazy," Orli said, still looking around warily.

"Did I mention there was a ghost in one of the house my mom rented when I was little?"

"Maybe it followed you," Orli said. "Would be my luck."

"No, it was a lady with those translucent nightgowns," Dom said, doing an evocative gesture with his hands.

"Does it explain why you turned out to be so warped?" Orli muttered, crossing his arms and watching him. "Want to lay down on the couch and talk about your childhood some more?"

"I miss my ghost now," Dom mock sniffled. "It was a great trauma to have to leave her."

"I'm surprised she didn't run away screaming," Orli said, shaking his head and gathering the remains of their beer bottles.

"See, that's why I have to spend the night there, I'll drive away your ghost," Dom said, bouncing on the sole of his feet.

He didn't quite know why he wanted to stay that badly, but he had missed the bloke, after all.

"What are you going to do, wank on my couch and send it running out of here?" Orli said, before slapping his hand over his mouth.

"I'm such a bad influence you," Dom said with quiet satisfaction. "It's so nice to see them all grown up."

Orli simply closed his eyes, as if the mental image was still horrifying him.

"I'm going to find the box with the blankets," he finally said, "and make you a nice little bed on the couch. And forward you my therapist bills."

Dom let himself fall on the couch to test its bouncing potential, ignoring Orli muttering something about hobbits being the death of him while trying to decipher his writing on the boxes.

"Find a toothbrush too," Dom said over his shoulder, smirking.

"You're not using my toothbrush," Orli said, voice muffled, his upper body disappearing into a particularly tall box.

"I won't give you cooties, prissy Elf."

"You haven't earned the privilege to use the princely toothbrush yet," he answered, emerging with an armful of blanket with colours that clashed so badly together that Dom almost checked if his retina was burning.

"Is your cable working yet?" Dom asked brightly, looking at the unplugged TV.

"Hm, no, the cable guy isn't coming until next week."

"You just have rotten luck with those things," Dom noted, barely avoiding receiving the pile of blankets on his head.

"I'm sure I can still entertain you," Orli said, looming over him with a smirk.

"You're going to wank on the couch?" Dom said innocently, and barely had the time to get away when Orli grabbed him by his ankle and reeled him in, nimble fingers going for his most ticklish spots.


When Dom woke up, all he knew was that it was dark. He blindly reached out for the alarm clock to check the time, just in case, not knowing if he was actually supposed to get up. But instead he hit some pile of crap and sent it crashing on the ground. He bolted upright, and it took his feet hitting the wooden floor instead of worn carpets to remember where he was. Orli's place. No wanking on the couch, unfortunately, was the next thought that popped in his mind. And maybe his mom was right, he really was a peculiar child.

He briefly considered picking up the stuff from the floor, then figured it wouldn't make much of a difference at this stage in the game. The floor and most horizontal surfaces where still covered with boxes vomiting their content. It hadn't helped that he had offered to make pancakes and Orli had obliged him by rooting through the boxes until he found some bowls, only to remember afterward he didn't have any milk. This suspiciously sounded like New Zealand. All his friends had quickly figured out they could get him to cook pretty much anything if he was smashed and they helped him walk a straight line to the kitchen.

Damn, but he had missed Orli.

He scratched his cheeks and the raspy sound reverberated in the room, like it often did in mostly empty houses. Really spooky that. Something creaked in the corridor, and at first he didn't pay attention to it. Orli had said the house was something like 20 years old, and old houses did a lot of funny noises in the night, particularly when you had a highly strange and speculative discussion about ghosts the evening before. That might have been a bad move, to think of it. If Dom had been a ghost, he would have taken it as his cue to scare the hell out of the inhabitants. He would make a damn good ghost, if he said so himself.

He gradually became aware that the creaks were a bit too regular and were like, moving along the corridor. He tried to get his breathing back under control. Wasn't the bathroom that way? Orli had probably gone to piss all the beer he had been drinking, or something. Right. Only he could faintly hear Orli snoring from his comfy bed. Damn him for being asleep in his time of need, too, Dom thought, trying to pretend that if he didn't move, whatever it was couldn't get him.

If he didn't think that it was beginning to suspiciously sound like footsteps, it couldn't be real. Nothing walking over there. Nope.

His resolution lasted all of two seconds, when a shape appeared at the entrance of corridor. A human shape. He didn't even pause long enough to tell himself it was only some kind of illusion, he was already across the room and running towards Orli's room, throwing himself on the bed and noting that it did bounce quite nicely.

There was an abrupt interruption in the snoring and an arm smacked him practically in the face, but he gratefully got a hold of it and dug his fingers in.

"Stop that, it's me!" Dom whispered urgently, when it appeared that a half awake Orli didn't take kindly to people jumping in his bed.

"The fuck?" Orli said, struggling to untangle himself from the covers.

Dom was about to burst out and say, 'there's something in the dark' but he had actually started to wake up and was beginning to measure the potential blackmail material.

"Erm," he said instead.

"What?" Orli said, sounding like a man who had had about three hours of sleep and had been rudely awaken before he could even reach for the Aspirin.

"Hm, hi?" Dom said, wondering if he could get away with hiding his face in Orli's chest.

After all, the ghost couldn't murder both of them, right? Right? Orli gently shook his arm, but Dom had clamped in like a lamprey.

"Nightmare?" Orli asked, much more gently that Dom would have been able to in the same circumstances.

"Hm," Dom could only manage to say, because there was now a hand petting his hair, and he should have been protesting, but damn, it felt good.

"The ghost thing spooked you?" Orli said in the same gentle voice.

Well, it was one thing he had always liked about Orli, is that he didn't laugh at people. Much.

"Maybe," Dom mumbled, giving in the impulse and letting himself relax, which coincidentally brought him more in contact with Orli, practically lying in his arms, in fact. Which had to be a total accident.

"You want me to turn on the light?" Orli offered, still petting his hair.

Dom's first impulse was to say yes, and to go look around the house with a baseball bat. No, make Orli look around the house with a baseball bat. But then, it would mean he'd have to move. He shook his head no, which pretty much buried his face in Orli's neck. And Orli... smelled pretty good.

For a long moment, there was only the sound of the alarm clock in the darkness, and Orli's regular breathing. No more ghost in the night, not right now, at least. He shifted around, entangling himself into the covers too, entangling himself into Orli, some wild curls brushing against his cheek.

It was nice, if not a bit odd. If it had been Lij or Billy, they would already be cracking jokes and poking him in the ribs to make him climb off their lap. But for once, Orli was perfectly still. Maybe he was falling asleep on him.

Or maybe not. Elegant hands started rubbing his back, his rumpled t-shirt easily letting him get to his skin. He could feel the warmth in his hands and the occasional coldness of one of his ever present silver rings pressing against his bare flesh. After a while, Dom realized he was breathing in the same rhythm than Orli.

"You saw something?" Orli asked very low, since his mouth was near Dom's ear.

"I think so. I'm not sure I was awake, though," Dom said, for once not feeling the need to lie.

"I hope it's not really haunted, Orli said, not sounding terribly upset by the prospect.

"Ghosts are terribly traditional, you know," he said, using the first thing that popped into his mind.

They were so close he could feel Orli smile against his face. There was the almost imperceptible smell of sweat, from the night being too hot, but it was comforting. Very much like his friend.

"They are?" Orli said, laughter in his voice.

"I bet you we could send it running away from the house," Dom added, and for the first time understood where he was going with this.

In fact, he suspected Orli knew exactly what he was doing, too. There was a low chuckle, and warm lips slowly mapping his neck, his adam's apple, getting close to his mouth. Oh yes, Orli had known exactly what he had meant.

He shifted a bit, feeling warm all over, wrapping his arms around Orli's shoulders, like it was the most natural thing in the world. But still the lips were traveling over his check, even nibbling on his ear, but not going where he wanted them to.

"Tease," he mumbled.

There was an answering chuckle, and suddenly he was being kissed, gently, a kiss from a friend more than a lover, and it was fine that way. More than fine, in fact. He practically felt himself melt into Orli's arms, his bare toes slowly curling into the sheets. He had thought it was a cliche, but once Orli's tongue was inside his mouth, slowly savouring him, it seemed, and he could only moan under his breath and do that.

He wrapped his fingers around the charms that Orli always wore around his neck, using them as an anchor, part of his mind still convinced he was dreaming. There was an ominous creak somewhere deeper inside the house, but neither of them paid it any attention. At this point, stuff could have been levitating from the night table and Dom wouldn't give a damn.

Dom's hands found their way under Orli's shirt, as if with a mind of their own, and started mapping warm skin that was getting a bit damp, and wiry muscles. The truth was, Dom was indeed built like a hobbit, and Orli like an Elf. There were no calluses anymore from archery practice on the hands there was busy teasing the waistband of his boxers. However, Orli had obviously continued to work out, judging by how nicely his biceps could fill his hands, when Dom threw his head back and moaned, breaking the kiss.

But how was he supposed to remember how to kiss someone with a warm hand circling his erection, knowing exactly what to do, nothing tentative there. God, he had been missing out. He didn't even protest when Orli shifted and pushed him on his back, didn't protest the fact that he was now for all intent and purpose on the bottom. In fact, he would have promised away all his worldly possession if that wicked, talented hand kept moving over him, and that mouth actually headed where he thought it was.. He pushed himself harder in the other man's hand and a low wail came from him when perfect little teeth started worrying his nipple. Had he told someone how sensitive his nipples were, or was Orli just that good in bed?

He turned his head and bit the pillow when he came all over Orli's hand, and wasn't that a strange thought, to have his come all over Orli's skin? He didn't even protest when he felt his friend pressing his hand over his lips, just started licking like a cat, feeling the shudders slowly leave his body, leaving him wide awake. And Orli was beginning to squirm over him, twitching, like every nerve ending in him was connected to his hand. Dom had always been told he had a wicked tongue, after all.

Dom grabbed his friend by the shoulder, intent on returning the favour. There was one of those citrus scents from the laundry surrounding him, and some light from outside tracing strange geometrical patterns on the sheets. They both fell into the mattress, limbs twining together as if they had done it all their life. Orli had been silent all along, only the hitches in his breathing betraying his excitement. But when Dom attacked his shirt and his sweat pants, he made a sound at the back of his throat, and Dom had to admit that he was beautiful. Not that he would ever tell him. He was all soft skin and flowing muscles and there was so much of him.

He felt a bite in his shoulder when he took Orli in his hands, and he didn't even fumble, his body seemed to know exactly what to do. And apparently he wasn't the only one incredibly turned on, because from the moisture that was gathering at the tip, Orli was pretty far gone already. He was going to have a mark, Dom thought dreamily, tightening his grip, finding the rhythm that made more delightful noises spilled from Orli's throat.

"God, you're so beautiful," he finally heard himself say.

He couldn't actually see much of Orli, but apparently he appreciated the thought, because he came with a startled cry, and Dom milked his release, just as equally startled at what they were doing.

"What the hell was that?" Dom said, going for shocked but sounding a bit too satisfied, even to his own ears.

Orli just shrugged and wrapped himself around him. Dom mentally gave up and decided that snuggling was perfectly fine in this case. He sank his fingers in Orli's hair, and for the first time wondered how long he had been thinking about doing this. Orli kissed his cheek and chuckled along with him.

There was a loud crash from somewhere in the kitchen, but neither of them cared.