Drama Queens

Recipient: flusteredspeech
Author: valerienne
Pairing: Billy/Dominic, Elijah/Orlando, Ian/Tobey, Liv/Billy, Dominic/Bean, Ian/Billy/Orlando
Rating: PG for language


"You want to come over and watch a film or something tonight?" asks Dom.


New pairs of prosthetics are out. The glue is ready. The razor and the soap sits on the side in case too much hair has grown, and the hobbits' ankles need shaving again. Billy glances at Dom, whose eyes are shadowed, his brow lowered. He yawns cavernously, and Billy thinks - cavernously - knowing how pleased that analogy would make Dom, with its Beatles connotations and all. Billy yawns himself then, reflexively mirroring him, and they smile at each other as the door bangs open.

"Look, I don't care if you're fucking around with half the cast, Orli. What I care about is that you're fucking doing it when you're meant to be with me!"

Elijah stalks in, his eyes a washed out colour in the pre-dawn electric light. Billy watches as Dom shifts back a little to accommodate Elijah's slide into the make-up chair, and then leans around the cup of coffee Elijah is clutching in his hand. It shakes a little in his rage, and the coffee slops. Dom grunts, but is carefully non-committal as he mops it up, and Elijah's distracted sorry is too sharp for real apology.

Orlando follows him in, a puppy-like analogy that has Billy smiling. In work, he seldom admits what he finds funny; he has the reputation for being a happy soul, a gentle wit, and Billy smiles beatifically and doesn't let on how much he likes to take the piss when they're off-duty It wouldn't do. He's a professional, after all.

"Lij, it's not what you think. Liv's stirring things, that's all, and jealous, 'cos she tried it on, and I ran away screaming."

Billy hides his face, imagining Orlando running away screaming like a little girl, given even the shadow of an excuse. Camper than a row of tents, that's Orlando. Clumsy too. How he portrays the supposed grace of the Elves as well as he does, is a mystery to Billy. He leans forward with Orlando's jerky movements, in a practised dance, and carefully feels for an ear.

"Yeah, right," Elijah's saying, "And I suppose I'm not even fucking meant to believe the evidence of my own eyes. Asshole. I was there. At the club. Where you were half naked in a bathroom. Were you on your knees for everyone last night, or was it just Marton that was special?"

"Lij, it wasn't my fault..." And Orlando's voice is little-boy wheedling, and grown-man nauseating. Even Billy has to still his fingers as he feels gently around the prosthetics, lest the sugary sweetness coating Orlando right now, rubs off like particularly nasty slime.

"Fuck. Fucker. Cunting fucking bastard."

And the coffee is sailing straight at Orlando's head, and it's all Billy can do to catch the mug, his judo reflexes kicking in, to straight-arm it away. And they're left dripping in coffee, Orlando looking wholly surprised, and Billy doesn't know what he looks like, but he hears Dom's sudden in-drawn breath, so he thinks he probably doesn't look quite normal either.

There is a pause, as the world tips and rights itself again. And then Elijah is all contrition, and solicitude, more genuine this time. And Orlando allows himself to be led off to Wardrobe, to get changed, and have Elijah hovering and taking the blame. It seems that Billy is left shaking a little. Stupidly. So he sits down for a second in the punter's chair to get his breath, which he never normally does, and Dom catches his eye again.

"Python, all right? For the film?"


And it is.


"My dear boy," says Sir Ian, as Billy walks through the door, changed and no longer coffee-stained. He's late but Ian doesn't seem to mind.

His voice is as polished and as cut-glass as ever. Crystal has nothing on Sir Ian, thinks Billy, as he watches their distinguished veteran look down, his lashes veiling his eyes, a move he must have practised, oh, a thousand times before. Billy wonders if he can see through crystal as easily as he can Sir Ian.

Tobey can't though. And that would be sad except that he is very young, and you have to forgive the very young. Billy tries not to think about the fact that Tobey is actually older than Dom. Instead, Billy watches Sir Ian slide a delicate hand onto Tobey's knee as he leans forward. Tobey's eyes widen slightly.

"But don't you see, dear boy. Gandalf and Pippin are going to share a bond in Minas Tirith. A very special bond. It would be criminal if we didn't at least try to explore that relationship, don't you think?"

Billy sidles past carrying Gandalf's immaculate white wig, but neither Ian nor Tobey appear to notice. Tobey licks his lips, and his legs shift a little. Billy might raise an eyebrow if he wasn't busy trying to hide a smile. He'll have to powder that slight sheen away before Tobey goes out for another day of being the irrepressible Pippin. But he's getting used to that. He wonders which Ian enjoys more - the chase, the anticipation, or the frustration in their eyes.

Billy plonks the wig down on Ian's fine-boned head, which makes him puff a little, all without looking at Billy, blowing suddenly long hair out of his eyes. But Tobey hasn't looked away, and Billy realises with a start that Ian is stroking tiny circles with his thumb on Tobey's inner thigh. Somehow, although it's nothing to do with Billy, it makes him shiver.

"Dear boy," says Ian.

Billy suppresses a sigh.


"So I was wondering if I could come and watch the film tonight round at your place, yeah? Instead of mine."

Dom has to raise his voice to be heard in the craft services tent. Despite the still early hour, more than one crew is on a break and the chatter is deafening, for all that they've secured a corner table. They may as well be in the middle of the place for all the bloody difference it makes. Billy smiles, nods, and eats his porridge. He's given up trying to persuade the catering staff to make him a small bowl every morning, it's too much trouble, they've said, and it doesn't really matter. Probably would taste funny anyway. They'd only try to put sugar in it or something equally horrifying. Instead Billy brings his own, and he's persuaded them to let him use the microwave, once he proved he wouldn't kill himself with it. Although what they think he'd do...

Billy takes another spoonful and stops thinking about porridge. He wonders what he can shout over all the noise that won't sound completely inane. Then, all of a sudden, decides he really ought to think about porridge again, as he watches Dom lick a drop of jam from the corner of his mouth. Dom's tongue is very versatile, Billy knows that. He sees it poke out of Dom's mouth all the time when he's concentrating, like when he's gluing feet, or playing pool. Or like now. He smiles at Dom again, and shouts, "When?"

Dom opens his mouth, and Billy leans forward, when there is a sudden burst of outraged screaming, that goes on and on, getting louder and higher in pitch. This is followed by a streak of pale flesh, running from the tent, trailed by laughter, and spilling more sounds that only a dog could hear. Dom shuts his mouth like a trap. They exchange sombre glances.

Liv. Half-naked. Having shed her favourite robe like a snake shedding its skin. Running from the tent, scratching as she goes.

They look around the room, and see a very smug Elijah, and an insufferable-looking Orlando.

It spells trouble, Billy can smell it in the air. Looks like Elijah has made up with Orlando, and in doing so, blamed Liv. Well, can't have him blame the butter-wouldn't-melt-in-his-mouth Orlando, now can he? Billy swallows, tasting a little bitterness that has nothing to so with his preference for salt on his porridge.

It doesn't matter what it is, whether it's straight itching powder, or something more subtle, like rose-hips rubbed on the seams. It doesn't matter. It's no good. The robe was left hung up in their make-up trailer. It'll be their responsibility. It'll be their balls on the line.

Billy exchanges another glance with Dom. His eyes are flat and dark, their colour bleeding into grey. Sometimes it's a great and wonderful feeling, to be on the same wavelength as Dom. And sometimes, like now, it's a complete pain in the arse.


"Liv? Liv, hen, are you in here?" Billy calls.

It's warm in the wardrobe trailer. It's soft and dim, and the light coming through the slightly torn curtain is yellow like old roses, not at all like the fresh morning he's just left outside. He takes a step and his trainer knocks against one of the racks. It shivers a little and there is a rustling, but it's more vibration than his clumsiness can account for.

Billy suppresses another sigh. Liv likes to hide away when she's upset. They've all learned that about her in the past weeks and intermittent months. God - please save us from female histrionics, he muses, with no real hope, even as his thoughts press lightly against the memory of his sister's slow tears at their Da's funeral, and the pressure of her hand holding his like a vice. He shakes them away. Liv is nothing like Margaret, except perhaps in the slow fall of their dark hair.

But his voice is more gentle as he calls again, "Liv? You must come out, lassie. They'll be calling for you on set soon."

And you have to save our jobs, he thinks privately. Because if you want to cause a scene, there's no-one better suited, or with more clout. At least at the moment, in the middle of filming, as we are. You're much more important than a couple of easily replaceable make-up guys. Peter will want you kept sweet. For now. I have to keep you sweet.

There is a sniffing sound, a tell-tale sniffing sound, and Billy stops himself rolling his eyes. Liv's a good actress, he knows that, but why she thinks overblown emotion is the way to go off-camera, he can never understand. And then he remembers who she shares off-screen credit with in this Fellowship, and he plasters a bright sympathetic Billy-patent smile to his face, as the bent and broken figure emerges from the shadows.

"Oh, Billy..."

There is a slight swirl in the air, Billy decides. Or maybe it's just the colour molecules go when they've been warmed to boiling point by the passage of something extremely fast. Like actresses. Like the one draped round his neck, sobbing into his collar. He could swear that limpets cling to rocks with less strength.

"There now, hen. Ye're all right now." He can hear his brogue coming out more strongly, like some kind of bloody stereotype. It's this sympathy thing. He can't help it. There is a wet trickle against his neck, and he tries not to shudder.

There's something exceedingly odd about being cried over by a woman taller than himself. Or maybe just because it's a woman at all. After all, it's not like he has them queuing up every day for his attentions. Even if Dom does take the piss out of him about that.

He steers Liv over to the couch by the window and sits her down. Somehow he doesn't feel so awkward, sitting down. The yellow rose light shows up what he half expected to see - long red streaks from her scratching on Liv's pale arms. They'll fade, but not in time for this afternoon's scenes. Billy pats her back and keeps murmuring, but he doesn't really think about it, he's too busy contemplating which number foundation will successfully conceal the marks.

Which is probably how it happens. Serves him right for not thinking really. Should have listened to yourself, Boyd. Should have listened to her.

Warm and soft. Perfumed. Those are his first thoughts. And then. Fuck. She's kissing. Me. She's kissing me.

It might be sort of pleasant, if his mind wasn't racing nineteen to the dozen. If he wasn't immediately running through every potential scenario in his head, with none of them adding up to anything good. If she wasn't murmuring about how wonderful it is that she has finally found a man who understands her...

Billy kisses back because it seems the thing to do. His eyes are open wide, so he can see when things turn from bad to disastrous. Liv's eyelashes are fuzzy and out of focus on her too-close cheek, but Billy can see the room just fine. He can see the door open. He can see Dom poke his head through, watch his eyes widen, and then watch him quietly shut the door again. He can watch the world begin to crack and split apart, but he can't do anything about it.


Because, despite the immediate urge to throw the silly bint across the room, and the sudden desire to scream, despite it all - he still has to keep Liv sweet.


"Dom? Wait a sec, will you?" Billy calls across the set.

Dom waves a careless jerky hand and disappears into the Cuntabago. It might mean anything, that hand. It might mean 'busy, we'll talk later'. It might mean 'carry on, I can see you're occupied', it might mean... Fuck.

Billy keeps a weather eye out as he walks over himself, and reaches for the handle. Following Dom, he's always following Dom. Well, since it's not for the first time, why on earth should Billy be so surprised?

Liv has been pried away and soothed, and Billy has left her in her own trailer, with a compress of lavender and herbs on her head, and cream on her arms. He's told her that the marks will go more quickly if she's calm and doesn't move. He doesn't know if she believes him, and he's afraid that she won't stay still if he leaves her alone for long. Needs an audience, does Liv. Then Billy thinks honestly about all of the cast, and wonders if it really would be easier to herd cats for a living. At least they wouldn't kiss you. He restrains himself from wiping his mouth again.

"So the footie's on satellite tonight - at some god-awful time though..." Sean is saying, as Billy quietly opens the door and slides in. "Want to come over? It's only Everton v Aston Villa, but it's still footie. I've got beer."

Dom is leaning over Sean, and touching up his powder. Boromir has to look like he's succumbing to the power of the Ring. He has to look wild, and desperate. Pale and yet interesting. He's stretching his neck up to let Dom reach under his chin. He's steadying himself by holding on to Dom's sleeve, and Dom has his tongue poking out again, as he gently sweeps the brush up and across Sean's throat. As Sean speaks, his voice is deepening, almost into a rumble, and his Adam's apple moves, mesmerising, even as he swallows. Billy watches, stricken into immobility, as Dom's breath stirs the blond hair of Sean's fringe. He'll need his wig next, thinks Billy, the thought coming from seemingly very far way.

There is a sudden grip on his elbow, and he would jump, except he seems to already be doing far too much of that lately. Viggo's blue eyes shine brightly out from under Aragorn's wig, and his fingers dig in the muscles of his arm, as Billy blinks. Is there warning there? Should he need it? What the fuck is happening to him? He's just losing it, that's what, just bloody losing it.

Mechanically, Billy shifts in front of Viggo and begins to professionally tousle his wig. It's not quite scruffy enough yet. Not quite. He refers to the pictures they all have taped up to the mirrors, in all the trailers. Some taken by Viggo himself. Some taken for continuity. It's like. It doesn't matter where you go. It's impossible to get away from these movies. From this Fellowship of Insanity. It's getting to him, that's what it is. It's finally getting to him. Dammit.

He's not listening for Dom's answer. He's not. Viggo is still watching him, without saying a word, and Billy looks down and focuses on that instead. Viggo smiles and tilts his chin sideways a little.

"Sorry, Sean." And the rumble of Dom's voice is like a cat purring, it just makes Billy want to stroke... He stops that thought as Viggo's smile widens. "Got plans tonight. See you on Saturday though, yeah? For the Man U. match?"


And Billy breathes again. He's only slightly surprised to find that he'd stopped.


"You want me to what? Apologise to Liv? You've got to be fucking kidding me!"

Billy looks up from meticulously arranging the pots and creams of his craft. He gazes at Elijah and wonders if this was a bad idea. Is it really his place to be asking the star of these films to be apologising to another star? Is that the Hollywood done thing? Has he crossed over some invisible barrier, where common courtesy doesn't apply to actors above a certain mega-wattage?

Not for the first time, he wishes he had a bit more movie experience, and that he'd worked outside of Scotland a little more often. Up 'til now, it hasn't seemed to matter, but now, as he's trying to stare down Lij's - no Frodo's - insanely limpid blue gaze, Billy wonders if he's going mad. Are all actors such rampant egomaniacs? Then wonders how he can even ask himself that question.

"Look, she wants an apology," he offers mildly. "She didn't do anything. Well, so she says. And she's very upset. Wouldn't you be if you'd been forced to almost strip off in the middle of the craft services tent?"

Billy watches Elijah turn his back and take a hasty step or two. He thinks there's a mutter about that time with the fountain, but Billy pretends not hear. It wasn't the same, anyway. Cillian had in no way forced Elijah up that fountain. And it wasn't in public. Well, not on set, anyway, which is what counts.

He waits patiently, hoping that Lij's at-heart small town values will prick his conscience hard enough. Billy knows better than to try Orlando, who seems to have let it all go to his head a bit. Or that's the charitable explanation anyway.

"Lij, please? She's threatening to go to Peter."

Elijah turns round and opens his mouth, and then, of course, the door bangs open.

"Hey, there you are, man! I've thought of something else we can... Oh, hi Billy."

Orlando is all smiles, and Elijah shuts his mouth like a trap. Billy smiles too, and for a shining second, hates Orlando with every fibre of his being, as Orli continues to chatter brightly, like some kind of fancy talking bird, all plumage and no brains. It pisses him off that he's failed with Elijah too. So much for the patented Billy-charm, and he hates too, that it matters this much. That it's only because it's Liv who's been pranked, and this boy's club wouldn't care if it was Cillian who'd had his fat suit sabotaged, instead of Liv's robe. Although Cillian loathes it so much that Billy wouldn't be surprised if he'd be the one to tamper with it himself.

He smiles and smiles, and watches Orlando lean over Elijah to whisper in his ear, watches how Elijah's fingers twitch before lightly coming to rest on Orlando's arm. Knowing that he can hardly fail to see how Elijah's face tips up and shines with a bright vulnerability that he still tries hard to hide. It reminds Billy again, how young they all are, all of this cast, for the most part. How clumsy they are with each other, how caring and uncaring at one and the same time.

He murmurs meaningless goodbyes as Orlando takes Elijah away with him, drawing him along in his wake, but Elijah does cast a brooding look back at Billy, a troubled sulky look, and Billy feels a little prickle of satisfaction at that. He's got to him, just a little, and that's something. Liv's their princess, when they all remember it, when Orlando isn't trying to snatch the crown, and Billy's glad Elijah's recalled that. Billy wants people to remember it. He wants them to seek her out, to court the royal favour, if only so he doesn't have to any more.

Dealing with this lot, makes his head hurt sometimes.

He stops smiling once they're gone, and leans his forehead in his hands, lightly massaging the skin, feeling the rounded edges of his skull through flesh that feels too thin. Wonders what his next move can be.

He stills when he feels long fingers stealing round his shoulders, digging into the tight muscles by his neck. He opens his mouth and feels each of his lightly panted breaths, knowing he's tensing up even more. This is not relaxing, even when the rich and smoothly even tones informs him who he has to thank for this impromptu neck-rub.

"Dear boy," says Sir Ian, who is leaning down now, and whose breath tickles Billy's ear, sending shivers down his spine and across the flat planes of his shoulder blades. "Would you like a hand dealing with the children?"

Billy clears his throat a little, which is feeling swollen, or maybe it's just hot in here suddenly, as Ian's fingers continue to curl into Billy's flesh. He wonders when he moved onto Sir Ian's radar, and whether being completely uninterested will merely increase his value to Ian as a object of desire. He desperately hopes not.

"Don't worry," Ian continues, "I have a wonderful plan to distract them..."

And Billy wonders why he doesn't feel at all reassured.


"Look, it's sorted," says Billy to Dom, sotto voce, as he moves past him to collect some towels.

And he's resorted to this, to muttering to Dom in public where Billy knows Dom won't pull away. Not that he knows that Dom will pull away at other times, of course, but you never know... He doesn't want to risk it, anyway.

Dom quirks an eyebrow, and just that, that simple gesture makes Billy feel better. He didn't have to react, after all. He didn't have to do anything.

Billy picks up the towels, all fluffy and clean, and resists burying his nose in the fresh fabric for reassurance. Things could still go so wrong. He can't believe he listened to Ian. He can't believe he agreed.

Billy busies himself with putting the towels out, with collecting the brushes and sponges he knows he'll need. He busies himself until...

Orlando walks in and Billy looks up with a smile. He could have been an actor, really he could. It's not that hard. And ignores Dom staring at him, a funnier expression than usual on his face.

"So. You wanted me for touch-ups, yeah?" says Orlando, with a charmingly boyish grin, and Billy represses a shudder. The things he has to do.

"Sorry about this, Orli," he lies, and proceeds to settle him in the chair. He looks at Dom then, he can't help himself, wondering if the mute appeal for understanding sounds as loud to Dom as it does to Billy. His guts clench then, as Billy realises that Dom may not understand, may not forgive. Too late. It's too late to explain further, but Dom's always been quick on the uptake, hasn't he? Too quick sometimes. It'll be all right. Of course it will.

"Here," says Billy, and slides a white fluffy towel around Orli's neck, protecting the costume. But he, god forgive him, doesn't just slide it in his normal professional manner. No, he makes sure that this time his fingers lightly drag along the side of Orli's neck in a delicate caress. He catches a startled intake of breath from Orlando, and then instead of glancing away when Orlando looks at him, he catches Orli's startled gaze, and he smiles, a very little, showing his eye-teeth.

Young, remember? This cast is so young. And Orli really needs to learn this lesson, as pretty as he is. Needs to learn it now, before press and public turn him into someone who doesn't care, who never cared. This is a mercy, really, isn't it? And Billy tries to think of it like that, and ignores the bugs that are crawling in his belly that are trying to tell him otherwise.

He finds it harder to ignore the sudden stillness from the other half of the trailer, but he doesn't dare look, not this time.

Come on, Orli, he mentally urges him, do what you always do best. Make this worthwhile. Make this whoring mean something, you bastard. In fact, he's thinking it so hard that Billy nearly jumps when the expected touch comes. Orli reaches up, taking Billy's hand where it lies against his neck, and turns it over. Billy tries hard to concentrate on looking interested, to pretend that Orli - pretty, lovely, spoilt Orli - is really someone else. That makes it easier. Sort of.

The door bangs closed as Dom leaves the trailer, and Billy comes back to himself with a sudden icy shock. Fuck. That wasn't part of the plan. Being left alone with an interested Orli was definitely not part of the plan, and Billy wonders if panicking like a girl will put Orli off, or whether he'll think of it as spice. As garnish.

Billy wrenches his eyes back from gazing forlornly at the door when he feels a hot wet tongue experimentally slide up the fleshy part of his thumb. He's gasping like a fish out of water, he knows he is, but this has suddenly gone way past his comfort levels, way past what he'd thought he'd have to do, and he's suddenly furious. Today has been a fucking disaster, a complete fiasco from beginning to end, and it's only half unwelcome desire, and certainly half misery, that makes him groan as Orli deliberately sucks his index finger into his talented mouth.

"Well now, is this a private party, or may anyone join in?" drawls a familiar voice from the doorway, and Billy could almost cry with relief, even if it has been mostly Billy's fault, for listening to him, for agreeing. For bloody well trusting him. At least that hasn't seemed to be in vain.

The cavalry is lounging against the jamb, out of costume, for a wonder, and resplendent in an open-necked white linen shirt. He's looking carelessly elegant, although, thinks Billy, when doesn't he? Still, can't argue with the rescue party, and he pulls his damp fingers away from a mildly disgruntled Orli, with an audible pop, and wipes them surreptitiously.

"Umm. Hi, Ian," says Orli, looking irritable, "Like, not to be a pain, but can we help you with anything? This not being your trailer and stuff."

"Dear boy, don't be like that," says Ian, strolling in, "I was looking for sweet William here. He's needed." A careless hand waves. "In wigs."

Billy hopes Ian's making it up. They'll be pissed off with him as well, if he isn't. Which would be typical, but there's no way he's leaving now. He doesn't want any of Orli's attention turned back to him, not for the foreseeable future, and not ever, if he can arrange it.

Ian has strolled over now, and he's holding Orlando's eyes with his own, and he's... Dammit, how does he do that? Billy's standing right there. Right there, and yet he might as well be invisible. Although it's not surprising maybe. Orli's always had a thing for the unattainable. At least that's what Billy had reckoned it was up 'til now. The unattainable, or anyone that offered him attention. Which just about covers everyone, now doesn't it? Considering that it's his arse that's being saved though, Billy reckons he ought to be more charitable. He should be thanking Ian, and he is, he is, only...

Dom left.

Billy watches Ian work his magic, watches Orlando's eyes go wide, and his pupils dilate, as Billy watches Ian's hand caress Orli's thigh, rubbing small circles like he'd seen him do for Tobey, earlier in the day. He might admire the professionalism of it, if he hadn't been so miserable. Was his career worth this? Was any of it really? Scottish tv wasn't so bad, now was it? Did he really need to be working on the biggest trilogy of all time? (Although Dom would argue about that, Billy knew, and the memory could almost make him smile, Star Wars versus Rings, although Billy didn't know how Dom could compare them considering he was working on one of those trilogies, and you'd think certain loyalties...)

Orlando is panting now. Delicate, attractive pants, like a pedigree poodle, maybe, but it's not an uninterested noise. And Ian... Well, Ian seems to be almost enjoying himself. Although, Billy thinks, perhaps that's not so surprising either given what he knows about Ian's... proclivities. The game. It's all about the game, with Ian.

Which takes another twist in its convoluted path, as the door bangs open yet again. It's Piccadilly Circus in here, thinks Billy, bloody typical. Except that this intrusion is planned, has been aimed for, will have desired consequences. He hopes. He admires the way Ian has draped himself, managing to look utterly debauched, even though there has been nothing technically going on. Well. Nothing yet.

"Fucker," says Elijah, his voice low, and full of venom.

And Billy might almost feel sorry for Orlando. Might, that is, if he hadn't been such a bastard over this shoot. A careless bastard. His eyes are huge in a pale face, his mouth pink and open. His attention has been pulled at least three ways now, in about three minutes, arousal and surprise fighting it out equally. And then he flushes pink, a rosy glow that stains his neck, and looks ugly against the silver grey of his tunic. But it's a more honest reaction than Billy was expecting; it shows some sense of shame. Maybe there is hope for him, after all.

But Elijah. Billy does feel sorry for Elijah, even though he's planned for just this scene, this effect, because there was no way round this part, and it's not like Lij didn't really know. But Billy can still feel the coffee that splashed him this morning when Elijah threw his mug. Elijah knows. He does. This isn't really as cruel as it feels right now.

Ian stretches and attempts to look ashamed, while actually looking like a somewhat smug cat that got the cream. Billy doesn't know what he looks like but his skin prickles with embarrassment as Lij's gaze sweeps over them. He barely notices that Tobey's there too, in the background, seemingly a little shocked, his eyes a little strained.

"Billy, Orli? And Ian too? So sorry that I interrupted you. So sorry that I missed the good part. Who'd get to be on top? Or would you have been on your knees for both of them, like Marton last night? Or can anyone join in this little orgy - were you going to come get me, then? Am I just a little early?"

And Billy might wince at the acid in Elijah's tone, except. Well. He needed to be told. Didn't he?

"Lij! Look, it's not like that, mate."

And Billy's glad that this time Elijah isn't holding another mug, or something sharper. He needs his balls, after all. He's very attached to them.

"Going to try and blame Liv for this one too, Orli? Are you really going to try? You'll do anyone who even halfway shows an interest, that's pretty clear. I can't believe I... I don't matter to you at all, do I? I've never mattered." Lij's voice is low and even, but it might be less painful if it broke a little more. Orlando opens his mouth, but Elijah is sharp as the crack of a whip. "Don't bother to deny it. I was watching, you fucking cunt. Through the window." And Elijah gestures at the deliberately carelessly drawn curtains.

It might be comical, to watch Orli's eyes widen. It might be comical but it isn't, it's raw, and unpleasant and Billy wishes... Wishes there'd been another way.

Elijah leaves then. He doesn't slam the door. He closes it gently and the silence that falls is louder because of it. Orlando looks like a truck has just hit him out of nowhere, dazed and sort of stupid. Billy carefully walks forward and takes away the towel from around Orli's costume. He steps back and even more carefully says nothing, as Orli looks from one to the other, like he's trying to understand. A few endless seconds, then he scrambles up and backs away. Ian smiles sympathetically, but Orli just looks scared - and Billy turns away. He hears the door bang one final time, before he dares to glance over at Ian, painfully conscious that this excruciating scene was all his fault.

Ian, the shit-stirring bastard, is grinning wickedly.

"Dear boy - I thought that went rather well. Don't you?"

Sometimes, Billy thinks, he could cheerfully kill the whole lot of them.


"He will be all right," says Viggo, from behind Billy.

And that nearly makes Billy jump out of his fucking skin, and he makes an embarrassing squeaking noise besides, like a bloody girl. Viggo is smiling as he arrives at Billy's elbow, but not laughing at him, instead there is a curl to his mouth that somehow looks too relaxed for true amusement, but it calms Billy right down just looking at him. Weird.

Billy looks across the set to where Elijah is waiting for his cue. His wig is blowing into Frodo's impossibly blue eyes, but Frodo is anxious in these scenes, knowing he must make himself leave the Fellowship behind, so it's impossible to work out whether the frown is in character or not. The eyes might be swimming in more than fake emotion, but then. They're all impossibly good actors. It's too hard to tell.

"They will all be all right," says Viggo again, with a kind of careless certainty, and bizarrely Billy almost believes him, despite Viggo not knowing the half of it. The stone he's been carrying in his stomach begins to melt a little - the guilt for causing Lij pain, for no more reason than to keep his job; the stupid contempt he's feeling for having whored himself in the first place; the worry whether Dom will even speak to him again. They all seem anxieties of an over-stressed mind, things that will realise their true proportion as the world settles down.

Viggo sighs slightly, and Billy follows his new eye line, to see Tobey and Ian talking, or maybe arguing is more accurate. Tobey is waving his hands, and Ian is attempting to placate. Or that's what it looks like.

"You reap what you sow," says Viggo, at length, and Billy slides a look at him, wondering if Viggo has always talked in aphorisms, or if that's a new thing. Wondering if he's meaning Ian and his game playing. Wondering if instead he means Billy. Maybe that guilty stone has been melting somewhat prematurely after all.

They stare out over the set some more, and Billy watches Tobey walk away. He sees him walk over to Lij and put a hand on his shoulder, and Elijah doesn't shrug it off. He watches Ian straighten his shoulders, and then head over to Wardrobe, before very deliberately changing his path and slowing his walk down to a... what would be an appropriate description? A prowl? A stalk?

Orlando is sitting on the fake rocks of Amon Hen.

Then it's Billy's turn to sigh, and Viggo turns to him with his own enigmatic smile, sly under Aragorn's wig. He twinkles at him, and Billy is warmed and charmed, and fucking confused all at once.

"And so it goes," says Viggo, and walks off.

It drives Billy nuts. This cast. This stupid fucking, beautiful, dangerous cast. It's starting all over again, isn't it? Bloody hell.

Do none of them ever learn?


"Stupid buggering traffic," Billy mutters as he shoulders the doors open, having finally found somewhere to park, after shopping, and what passes for rush hour in New Zealand.

His fingers are aching a little from the plastic of the shopping bags, but it's worth it. He's finally sorted for the next few days. There's crisps, and beer, and bananas if he's feeling healthy, plus enough stuff that he can put together a curry if he wants one, and... Well, it wasn't hard to pick up a copy of 'Life of Brian' too, since it's the only Python film he doesn't already have. Just in case. Nothing wrong with being prepared.

Billy dumps everything on the kitchen counter and then casually wanders into the living room, scratching at his chest.

"Jesus Christ!"

He's glad he's not still carrying the shopping, because he'd have dropped it all, all over the bloody floor. He wasn't expecting Dom to be sitting on his sofa, with a beer cracked open, and his feet up. No reason why he couldn't be here already, but. Still.

Dom's looking serious, his mouth frowning, but he just stares at him, as Billy's heart rate settles down to something closer to normal.

"Python we said, wasn't it?" says Dom.

And Billy nods, in helpless, hopeless agreement. He holds his breath as Dom grunts and settles down a bit further, his eyes half closed.

"Holy Grail?" asks Billy, "Or..." He waves at the dvds, and Dom waggles his fingers in a 'don't care' sort of gesture. So Billy gets out 'The Meaning of Life' as the least complicated option, and puts it in the player. Then he goes and gets a beer, and brings it through, before standing uncertainly in the middle of the room, out of easy alternatives, unsure what's left for him, unsure if he should even sit or stand.

Dom stares at him, as he fidgets, then abruptly, impatiently, he leans forward and pulls Billy down onto the sofa.

"The Liv situation, it's sorted, yeah?" he asks, his voice the same comforting rumble it always is.

"Yes," Billy answers, almost ashamed, "Elijah apologised in the end."

"And Lij and Orlando?"

"Also sorted."


"Aye - I think so anyway."

Billy dares a glance out of the corner of his eye, and realises that Dom's stopped frowning. In fact, he could almost be said to be smiling, and his chin is all sideways, and his eyes are shining with amusement, and something that's been held tight in Billy's chest might just be easing up into an aching sort of feeling. A relieved aching sort of feeling.

"So what, precisely, is the problem, then?" asks Dom, his voice softening into fondness, and punching Billy lightly on the arm.

"Oh, I don't know..." says Billy, as he finally - finally - lets himself fall back and into Dom's arms, his head coming to rest naturally on Dom's chest. Then he sighs as he feels Dom nuzzle into his hair. He opens his mouth to explain, to apologise... And then closes it again. Cautiously, instead, he offers, "Just a bloody awful day at work? Bunch of eejits."

"You're not wrong," says Dom, "But we're all right, you know."

Billy tips his head up and stares at him wide-eyed for a second, wondering if Dom is channelling Viggo or the other way around. Stares at a Dom who suddenly looks serious again.

"Everything's fine," he says.

And as easily as that, it is.

"Just watch the film," says Dom, and tugs him closer.

And Billy could ask him questions - just what was he playing at when he was flirting with Sean? Why did he leave Billy to Orlando's mercy? What he was thinking when Liv kissed him? But that way lies madness. Or at least more drama than Billy wants to cope with at the end of a really shitty day. Anyway, that's not them. They're not like that. They're just Billy'nDom. And my god, but sometimes Billy's glad of that, especially after today. He tips his head until he can feel Dom's heartbeat through his t-shirt, and then he watches as the Crimson Permanent Assurance sail the wide accountancy. Are they all right? Really?

Just watch the film, says Dom. Yeah, ok, thinks Billy, I can cope with that. I can do that.

And he does.


Concept created by Megolas in 2002
Fabulous artwork ©2002 by Hope.
Moderated since 2004 by MSilverstar and yueni.
Site revised ©2006 by yueni