Dear Boys

Recipient: Tarteaucitron
Author: Valerienne
Pairing: Ian McKellan/everyone :)
Rating: PG
Summary: Ian is just a terrible old flirt, really...
Notes:Tarte asked for 'ian with either dom or elijah (or even orlando), but probably not viggo' and for 'everything in moderation: no fluff, no extreme angst, no extreme porn. i enjoy a good character/mood piece. with a little sex, obviously'. Hope you don't mind - I managed it all except the sex, I think! Happy Christmas!
Author's Notes:: Betaed by idrillia
---

"My dear boy," said Ian, sweetly, "Don't feel you have to on my account."

Orlando looked at him and was glad for once that he had no confidence in his acting skills. He hoped he was looking daggers. In fact, he wanted the bloody bastard to die a million painful deaths, and he hoped it all showed in his eyes.

But Ian pursed his lips and then wagged a finger. "You only had to say if you wanted a rest." Then pale lids lowered over innocent blue eyes, as the complete and utter git looked out over the ridge above Ohakune. "Isn't it a beautiful day?" he said, as though changing the subject, and hitched his rucksack higher up his long elegant (unscarred, too old) back. As though Orlando wasn't heaving for breath after that climb, when Ian hadn't turned a hair. At his age!

"Yeah," Orlando agreed, feeling surly, whether or not he could now breathe without gasping.

"It's all in the breath control, you know. Not magic. Would you like to learn?" And Orlando could swear that Ian must have an evil twin who sat on Orlando's shoulder and told Ian exactly what he was thinking. Which was a disturbing idea.

"I'm not sure..." Orlando started to say, before Ian grabbed his hand.

"No really," Ian continued, "Let me show you."

And he took Orlando's hand and drew it to his chest, before thrusting it against the cool fabric of his shirt. It only took a second for the wind-chilled cotton to heat to blood warmth, and only a second after that for Orlando to feel the faint thrum of a strong heartbeat, going fast, faster... Faster than Orlando would ever have guessed from the sly bastard's demeanour. His fingers prickled as the heat warmed them, and he realised he could also feel the steady rise and fall of Ian's chest as it took in those measured breaths, which were again deeper than Orlando would have realised from looking at him.

"It's all that projection to the back of the gods, you know. Making sure every granny who's come in for a bit of culture on a Saturday afternoon can hear each and every word. Can't have the matinée crowd going away without their money's worth, now can we?"

Ian cracked a small smile at that, and Orlando blinked. Then realised he'd been staring, and had a horrible schoolboy urge to blush. He wasn't even quite sure why, although everyone knew Ian was a terrible flirt. Witness his hand inside Ian's jacket.

He stared back then, and willed his own heartbeat to slow down. "Go on then, show me what to do."

The stiff breeze blew Ian's wavy hair around, and chilled the tip of Orlando's nose. But his hand was warm, inside the jacket, covered by Ian's own. Ian narrowed his eyes, and then tipped his head slightly to one side as he scrutinised Orlando, before letting go. Orli wondered why he shivered. Wondered more why he was... disappointed when Ian waved a careless hand, and began to stride off again along the ridge,

"I mean it," said Orlando, as he panted to keep up - and he'd never have expected that, never, not in a million years. "I want to learn. I want to learn from you."

The smile he got this time was wry, and maybe a bit resigned. "I know you do, dear boy. And you will. Although perhaps not everything I've got to teach."

And at that he looked positively wicked. It surprised a giggle out of Orlando, and then he felt about five years old, with his feet bigger than his head and an alarming tendency to trip over them. Ian clapped him on the shoulder and laughed out loud.

"I'm self-taught, you know. I never trained formally. But then who does."

He strode off again, still chuckling, leaving Orlando to stare after him in bemusement. He wondered if it mattered that he seemed to have missed the joke.

***

"You remind me of Derek," said Ian amiably, and slurped his drink. The dark rich ale slopped down the side of the glass, and wet his fingers, although Ian didn't seem to notice. Billy slumped down a bit in the booth, and lifted his own pint to hide his grin. He wondered how much Ian had had to drink. He wondered if it was anywhere near as much as he was pretending.

"Derek?" he prompted, which caused Ian to make sputtering sounds, rather like a coffee-maker, or even Gandalf. Billy sucked in a cautious bit of air through his teeth, since as far as he knew Ian based his portrayal of Gandalf on Tolkien's own mannerisms and habits of speech. Therefore this wasn't Ian. Or, at least, this was Ian hiding something. Acting. Billy wasn't sure how he felt about being an audience.

"Derek Jacobi, dear boy, who's another one of us poor dubbed. You remind me of him."

"Poor dubbed?" Billy said, scepticism colouring his voice, and bringing out his accent.

"Well, the knighthood's a lovely honorific, but it hardly comes with steady remuneration, now does it?" Ian brought a dramatic hand to his forehead, as though he was about to expire with a shout of ‘Dead, dead, and never called me mother'. Billy grinned again, showing a few teeth. He would bet that Ian didn't even think he knew that reference.

"Now why would I remind you of Sir Derek Jacobi?" said Billy, realising his tone was probably sharper than he intended it to be, when Ian cast a bright eye over at him. Not drunk, thought Billy. Not drunk at all.

"It's something in the face, you know. An air, a certain twinkle. The beauty of youth." Ian snapped his fingers, as though sudden inspiration had hit him. "Cherubic. You are both cherubic, my dear."

"Hobbit," he said shortly, "It comes with the job."

"Oh, now, don't take it that way. We use the tools we've been given, after all. I just rather like yours."

Billy made an indistinct sound around his pint, and tried not to be too annoyed. He was thirty, for fuck's sake, but looked a decade younger. And was 5'6". And don't think he hadn't been aware of both these facts for nearly half his life. He felt like getting Ian to feel his fingertips where the calluses from his guitar had merged with those caused by lifting and pressing paper and glue, day after day after day. To have him run his hand along the underside of Billy's thumb where there was still traces of a scar, the souvenir from a knife that had slipped once when he was slicing open the day's deliveries.

Not that acting wasn't real work, but he wasn't a bloody child.

"I fancied Derek dreadfully, at Cambridge," said Ian, putting his drink down. "Unrequited, of course. Or at least... Well, I never said anything, so I suppose we'll never know, and I rather regret that now. I've since discovered that life's too short for regrets. What about you?"

Billy discovered that he regretted trying to inhale his beer, although he still couldn't stop laughing, even as he choked.

With a gleam in his eye, Ian slid around the leather seats in the booth and attempted to gently pat his back..

Billy could feel slim hard warmth pressed all down his side, and caught a whiff of something nice and spicy as Ian leaned forward to put his glass on the table. Still unable to speak, he waved his hands in the air, and shook his head, still trying to laugh through the tears that were forming in his eyes.

"No?" said Ian, thoughtfully. "A great pity, my dear boy. But I do understand. C'est la vie, and all that."

"Mmph," Billy managed, at last, and Ian smiled.

***

It might be today, Elijah thought, as he stared up into that inscrutable face. Frodo's eyes filled with tears, but Elijah's heart beat faster as the concerned compassionate gaze of the wizard Gandalf locked with his own.

"Cut," yelled Peter, "It's a wrap."

But instead of moving, Elijah couldn't help himself, he held still and even flicked out his tongue and licked his lips a little. Gandalf narrowed his gaze, and suddenly it was Ian in there, behind the character. It was a slightly surprised Ian, a slightly grumpy Ian, the look of a man who'd been up since 5.00am and had been subjected since then to the interesting sounds of the Stone Roses with or without his consent. It was enough to break the moment, if moment there had been. And Elijah giggled, and then levered himself up off the fake rock, and away from the green screen. He reached his chair and without even thinking about it, dragged his cigarettes - fags, he remembered, and smiled again - from his coat pocket and waved at one of the ADs. She waved back, and he slipped outside for a quick drag.

The New Zealand air had warmed a little since he'd been out in it first thing this morning, but it was still fresh and exhilerating. His fingers felt nipped by the breeze as he sucked on his clove, but instead of hiding from the wind, he ended up facing it, and even putting his chin up a bit. He needed it, needed this - it was better than coffee some days.

"Elijah, we've been let off for the day. They need to cross-shoot Sean. What luck. Walk with me, dear boy?"

"Sure."

Ian's voice caused the small shiver he'd felt at the end of the scene to come rushing back. It was only a matter of time, after all. Wasn't it? From what Orli had said... And Billy, once he'd been tickled into proper submission.

And it wasn't as though he was inexperienced. Maybe he needed to let Ian know that... But not now. Elijah glanced at Ian out of the corner of his eye as they walked to the trailer to get their make-up removed. He couldn't tell Gandalf about anonymous hurried encounters, the frantic three months with Josh. How it felt, how it wasn't quite enough, how young and stupid he felt. How Ian could change all that - if he was interested. Elijah wanted to tell him all that, but he couldn't. Not to Gandalf. Not yet. But it still could be today.

"Hey, do you want a lift home afterwards?" he asked, years of one kind of training keeping his voice steady in the face of another kind. "Give your driver an afternoon off."

And it was enough he kept his own tone light and unconcerned. He could do this. He could ask for what he wanted. He wasn't a child any more.

Ian still looked faintly irritable, and it made Elijah's throat dry. But Orlando had hinted... And if Elijah didn't say something, Ian would find someone else, and then he'd never...

"Why not?" said Ian, and smiled like some kind of sunshine from behind clouds. It reminded Elijah that the sun had been around for a pretty long time.

He was biting the remains of his nails when Ian walked out of the trailer, sports coat on, white shirt loose at the neck. Experienced, yes, but also, hot. Elijah whipped his finger out of his mouth and grinned. He could so do this.

They sat quietly as Elijah drove. Elijah was concentrating; since he didn't want bad driving also being laid at his door, if Ian was so inclined. ‘The Youth of Today have no manners, taste or style' Ian would roar through the trailer door, and it always made Elijah smile.

"So how was that?" he asked, once they'd arrived. And, dammit, if his throat wasn't a little dry. He smiled again, the consummate professional.

"Perfection," said Ian, gently, "I couldn't have done better myself." There was a pause. "Thank you for the compliment."

And there went all his credibility, rushing into his face along with the heat to his cheeks. Fuck.

But Ian didn't say anything else, and Elijah couldn't have been more grateful. In fact, he did more than that. Ian leaned over, as Elijah was still convulsively gripping the steering wheel, he leaned over and cupped Elijah's face in one long-fingered hand. And let all he was feeling show in his eyes. Humour and admiration; perhaps a touch of exasperation; a quite startling degree of lust. Wow, Elijah thought.

I wish I could do that.

And the crow's feet at the corner of Ian's eyes crinkled up and he chuckled.

It wasn't going to be today, but somehow it didn't matter, thought Elijah, feeling dazed, yet happy. Feeling part of something, feeling appreciated somehow.

It didn't even spoil the moment when Ian ruffled his hair.

***

It was too much to expect, really, wasn't it? When you came right down to it? Even given a new country, and a whole new set of acquaintances and friends. A lovely, lovely new set of experiences. It was all still a little too good to be true. He was far too old and too foolish to expect anything greatly different. But he had hoped. If one lost hope, one lost an essential spark, he'd decided long ago. So he enjoyed his little explorations. The sparks.

Ian paused at the top of the steps, before pressing the bell. Should he go in? He'd done all the obligatory socialising for this production, the building of camaraderie. He'd done more than that; he'd delighted in it. But he was tired. All that youth, however pretty, made him ridiculously exhausted. He didn't have to attend.

But he found his finger bearing down on the buzzer before he realised it. The warmth of company, the strangeness of Viggo's parties, must appeal to something in him, he supposed. Ian sighed. Anyway, he was here now, and Matt was watching from the car. How silly to be concerned about looking indecisive in front of one's driver. Absurd really. But then, life is inevitably made up of such little vanities.

The swirl of laughter that met him as Billy answered the door made his head lift, like a bloodhound scenting the wind. He found he could answer Billy's inevitable sly jibing with wit and levity of his own. They smiled at each other in the half dark, white teeth flashing, and Ian found himself relaxing, feeling comfortable and familiar. Perhaps finding himself again. The cheering sound of predominantly male chatter continued unabated around him, even as he was handed a drink and found part of a sofa to perch on, a minor miracle all of its own. The smell of barbeque was in the air, floating through the open garden door.

The drink was whiskey, which wasn't entirely unexpected, coming from Billy as it did, and Ian swirled the glass before appreciating each peaty sip. Not his drink of choice, but it warmed something in him tonight. It made him ask for another, and then one more, even as he was discussing the appalling price of books in New Zealand, or arguing the various merits of Coronation Street versus East Enders - not that there was much contest, in his opinion. There was an inevitable glow about the room now, its people golden and blessed. Ian felt like quoting something but restrained himself. Half-remembered speeches from dozens of plays floated just at the corners of his memory. The world was good, and he wanted to smile benevolently at all of it.

It was all of a piece when the slim beautiful body slid onto his lap, and a hot wet tongue raided his mouth, opening him up greedily and without pausing for protests, when he might otherwise have been gasping in surprise. Automatically Ian lifted his arms to cup a firm arse, to slide along a lean back, feeling the nubs of the spine under his fingertips. It should have felt like a invasion, a violation, but instead it felt strangely right. Something even more pleasant than the whiskey. There was a rise in the level of chatter and laughter, and an audible shout of ‘Go on, my son' in distinctly northern tones.

It was enough to make his assailant pause, even as Ian continued to run his fingers up his back, skating along a slim neck, and into short, almost buzz-cut hair. It gave under his hand, almost like fur. Ian could feel the flex of muscles in the neck, skin hot and smooth under his hand; it meant he was smiling when he drew back, and...

"Dom," said Ian, mildly, "How nice to see you, dear boy."

Dom's face was shadowed, but his mouth grinned, and Ian knew his eyes - so expressive, those eyes, and don't think he hadn't noticed - would be snapping with unrepentant impudence. Balls of brass, this one had. Ian had thought so from the first.

"Not that this isn't an extremely pleasant way to be greeted, of course. But I think I am entitled to ask what you think you're doing in my lap? Hmm?"

"Thought it was my turn," Dom said, his voice low and gravelly, sending a jolt of something through Ian, not just heat or lust. Not just his body's usual response to a wriggling body on his lap either. Something he thought best to leave undefined. "I got fed up waiting for you."

"Ah, I don't think..."

"You've played with all of them - and don't try and deny it. You've played with everybody, except me. I might be hurt."

Dom shifted back, leaning a little more on Ian's knees. His weight still mostly on the sofa as he straddled Ian's thighs. A flash of grey eyes, as someone crossed from the kitchen, leaving a streak of light to fall on Dom's face.

"Instead, I'm going to take it to mean you saved the best to last," said Dom, and Ian opened his mouth to protest, before shutting it again. The light showed other things, too. The beauty of youth, indeed. A tremor of uncertainty. Ignorance of consequences, but wilful ignorance. A choice to be oblivious. A choice.

Playing with sparks was only one step removed from playing with matches. And it was a blind man who wouldn't see how fire could burn.

Perhaps New Zealand had only been playing with him too.

Ian laughed a little to himself, as he let his hands, still resting on Dom's shoulders, travel downwards, smoothing his rucked t-shirt, feeling the blood heat beneath. Feeling Dom arch into his touch, and then sigh an infinitesimal amount, as Ian tugged him off his knees and tucked him against his side.

He fitted. But then, somehow, Ian hadn't expected anything less.

 


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