Sgraffito

Recipient: i_o_r_h_a_e_l
Author: trianne
Pairing: Viggo Mortensen/Elijah Wood, Elijah Wood/Ian McKellen
Rating: PG-13


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Last night I dreamed I went to Manderley again.

Well, not Manderley as such. Santa Monica, to be precise. His house. I dreamed I went to his house. I walked up the path to his door and raised my hand to knock. I could see my hand, poised to rap. I could hear music inside, a jumble of something that might have been Half Fling and might have been Tchaikovsky. I hesitated. I wanted to knock but was afraid to do it. I let my hand fall and took a step back.

I heard purring and looked down at my feet and there was a cat, this huge calico cat, winding itself around my ankles and purring like an electric drill. A fucking big furball of a cat. I tried to sidestep it, but it was stuck like glue.

I knew without looking up from the cat's fat fuzzy face that the door had opened and he was there. I stared at his scuffed boots on the doorstep and the pants he was wearing purple, they were purple. I couldn't look at his face. I knew I'd come miles to see him, to actually see him, but I couldn't see see him. Cos it was too damned painful to look. So I waited and the cat kept purring at my feet, and then he spoke.

"See, Viggo," he said, "you're meant for the pussy."

And that's when I woke up.

He lays down the pen, closes his dream book and yawns. It's just after dawn and the air is heavy with the sounds of the world waking up to another day.

Viggo stretches, giving his cock a good morning tug before climbing out of bed. ... you're meant for the pussy. He smiles and shakes his head. "Elijah, you little cunt," he says to himself as he crosses from his bedroom to the kitchen, "psychoanalysing me from inside my own head, man?" He makes tea and stares out across the valley.

There's a full day ahead: some business to attend to; yoga; then lunch with friends in town. No time to dwell on what might-have-beens and could-never-be's.

But apparently there is always time for that...

He can't help but look out at the deck and picture a smallish, light golden torso, sunning itself, a melee of familiar limbs and wayward hair. There's a magazine to the left of the indolent one, discarded for now... a tall drink of something cool and almost certainly alcoholic... a pair of sunglasses within easy reach. Viggo sees himself kneeling beside Elijah and smoothing lotion onto the skin of his shoulders and the back of his neck. He closes his eyes and lets his fingers roam Elijah's body just as he'd seen Dom do in New Zealand. That was when he'd thought Dom was competition. He'd been wrong. Dom was just -- Dom. No, the competition shared the same makeup trailer as the hobbits, sure enough, but was altogether in a different league.

He opens his eyes and there is just decking. Of course.

He leans against the rail, enjoys the view that he'd paid good money to acquire. If he has to be unfulfilled and wistful, he might as well do it here, where the air is clear and pure and sweet. The road cuts through the trees a few hundred yards below his property, and beyond that is mile upon mile of forest. Good riding country, good everything country.

Elijah has promised to come out here and visit. They'd had a casual arrangement that this would be taking place around about now. But nothing set in concrete, cos they're actors and the work comes first. Viggo likes the sentiment. He's always prided himself on applying that to all his lovers, too. He'd particularly wanted to apply it to Elijah.

Only now he is in London.

Viggo doesn't blame Ian, certainly doesn't dislike him. Ian has been offered this wonderful thing and he's taken it; he hasn't seduced Elijah or stolen him from Viggo. Elijah had never belonged to Viggo in the first place. He'd never belonged to anyone. He'd flitted about in New Zealand, always watching, always looking and listening and fitting-in and becoming indispensable. It was only in retrospect that Viggo had realised what Elijah was looking and listening for.

Elijah had found what he'd wanted, with Ian. But there'd been a moment, a spell, when it might have gone the other way, if only Viggo had realised that the moment was fleeting. He'd been preoccupied with his own little affair at the time, and she'd been pretty intoxicating, as he remembered with a wry smile. Yep. Beautiful girl, great rider of all kinds of flesh, good heart, too... He'd been discovering all this about her and there was Elijah, cocking his head to one side and raising one sweeping brow. And Viggo -- fool! -- had nodded and smiled like one man of the world to another and gone back to his discovering, while around him the pub was celebrating some birthday and Bean was keeping the beer flowing like there was no early morning call for anyone, let alone an inquisitive hobbit...

And now Elijah is in London. The girl, well she didn't even last beyond New Zealand, though he still talks to her on the phone from time-to-time and enquires about the horses they'd ridden and the friends they'd shared. And promises to visit. Easy to make such promises, when there's shared liquor and heated skin...

Elijah said, the last time they'd seen each other, last month in New York: "Course I'll come! Try stopping me." And he'd been grinning and Viggo had experienced a whole spectrum of colours flooding into his mind's eye, colours falling on canvas; then the reveal, scratching at the top layer to expose the truth beneath ... He had promised himself some time in the workshop before Elijah's arrival, because, with luck, there'd be no time for much else but the shared warmth of bed, and long rides, of course. He knew just the trail he wanted them to take, the exact places he'd show him, and all the things he'd show him in those exact places. But that was then.

Well, there's plenty of time for painting now. "Yeah, I know I said I'd come, but it won't be till the autumn now, mate," Elijah had said yesterday on the phone. From London, speaking an approximation of English he'd picked up in Wellington from Dom. "I'm in London. With Ian. It, well, it wasn't planned or anything. He said to say hello, by the way." Viggo had heard noises in the background, good-natured laughter.

"That's all right, Elijah," he'd replied, softly, though it wasn't. It was anything but all right. "It's really beautiful here in the autumn; you'll love it. Say hello to Ian for me."

"Viggo?"

He felt his heart gasp, if such a ridiculous thing were possible, and he replied as gently and evenly as he could, "Yes, Elijah?"

There was a moment's silence; even the background sounds from the docklands of London had become muted as if they were holding their breaths just like him...

"I wanted to thank you."

Viggo turned that over for a second, then said, "For what, Lijah?" And he really wanted to know.

Thousands of miles away, Elijah sighed and then said, "For being such a great mate. And for not letting me make a fool of myself. I, I nearly spoiled our friendship, nearly did something really stupid. You must have known how I felt about you, what I wanted, in Wellington. God! What a cunt I was!" Elijah laughed, sounding a little embarrassed.

Viggo was about to reply, to say something - how planes left from London Heathrow all the time, and Elijah could be here with him in less than half a day and he should, should be here with him, because this place that he loves so much wants him just as much as Viggo does, and there are horses to ride and it's just fucking meant to be - but then he heard Ian calling, "Elijah, nipping out, love. Want anything?" and Elijah must have been holding his hand over the receiver, because Viggo heard a muffled "Only you, love."

Viggo thinks they said some more words after that, he and Elijah, swapped some conversation and asked about family and mutual acquaintances. He'd kept his shit together, spoken normally and never once betrayed himself. They'd promised to hook up when they were both once more on the same continent and work allowed.

Then he'd let him go.

Viggo stretches and heads for the shower.

There's a full day ahead: some business to attend to; yoga; then lunch with friends in town.

No time to dwell on what might-have-beens and could-never-be's.

And one day, he'll believe it. That there is no hidden layer. It's all here. All there is.

 


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