Sekrit Slasha

Slasha, Baby is the LOTR RPS Fanfiction holiday fic exchange. This story depicts real-life public figures engaged in completely fictional, false and untrue activities. It never happened. This story is a work of fantasy and satire which in no way professes to express the truth about the life, thoughts, feelings, desires, opinions, beliefs, activities or sexual orientation of any person mentioned herein.

Realizing Truths

Title: Realizing Truths
Recipient:
shegollum
Pairing: Sean/Viggo
Rating: G
Notes: I hope you had a wonderful holiday and that you enjoy this gift fic.

He'd never been happier that Viggo wrote letters. The e-mails and phone calls were fine, and a disjointed message on the answering machine was a special gift. But letters had a certain weight to them; there was something substantial about the bold strokes on cream-colored paper. Sean had kept every one: from the first postmarked from New Zealand to the last sent as Viggo boarded a plane in New York. All were safely tucked away in his bottom dresser drawer, an anchor for what at times seemed like a life on the verge of flying away.

Sean would randomly fish out a few, sit down on the bed or at the window, open each envelope and reread every word, trace every doodle. They were snapshots of time and places, feelings and distractions. Each a small piece of who they were, where they'd been and the life they tried to build together. And now more than ever he treasured them, now that Viggo was off trying to decide if there was anything left to come home to.

###

Viggo walked into his hotel room and inwardly sighed at the mass confusion he'd have to sort through and repack in the next hour. He should have packed and even checked out before the meeting this morning but he'd been preoccupied with Sean's e-mail and unable to focus. It had been the usual carefully worded missive, the same kind of message he'd been receiving once a week for the past two months. Ordinarily the next day he'd send his reply, a deliberate and thoughtful response, keeping the door between them open but mindful for the moment not to step through.

As he collected his belongings and stuffed them in bags he thought about this morning's e-mail and knew it was time to choose: walk through that door or close it forever. Either way it meant going back, and if he didn't do it now he'd just find more excuses to put it off; that wasn't fair to either of them.

###

For months it had been too easy for them to avoid each other, to ignore the fatal truths in their relationship. Both moved from job to job, commitment to commitment; projects were always too interesting or important to turn down. Justifying their workloads became easier, automatic, and what they lacked in creative excuses they made up for in the vehement desire to believe stale words.

Airplane seats and hotel rooms had become more familiar than any of the homes they shared. Being in the same room, let alone the same house, had become so infrequent they barely knew what to do with themselves on the rare occasions when they were together. Viggo suddenly found a constant need to check for text messages and e-mails, Sean became completely absorbed in the news, both would read and re-read books so many times they could recite them from memory. Any conversations they did have were relegated to small talk punctuated by the occasional flashes of argument, frustration more than anger fueling the fire.

But despite a growing sense that their relationship had ended long before either of them had been prepared to notice, it seemed they were both too stubborn to accept that at face value. Instead they carved out a few days from their schedules and headed for a small secluded cabin miles from anything but trees. It was neutral territory, a place not even recommended by friends, something so separate from themselves, so unfamiliar, that there'd be no connections or attachments to memories or thoughts that could obscure their purpose.

###

Torrential rain and thunder were the only accompaniment during the long drive to the cabin. It seemed as if they'd lost real communication, the ability to talk clearly, reasonably, without tempers flaring. Sean had never felt so uncomfortable in Viggo's presence. For his part Viggo chose to put all his focus on the road; the storm was worsening and visibility was low. With about half a mile left to drive, the road proved impassable and they ran through the raging storm to get inside, only to find no heat, electricity or running water to welcome them.

Sean glanced around the room, frustrated and exhausted, feeling soaked through clear to his bones. He pushed his hair off his forehead, seeing everything as one big symbol of their relationship, then began bristling under Viggo's pointed stare.

"What?"

"I'm just waiting for you to blame me for all this."

"Right, because you made it rain and broke every damn thing in this place."

"Sean Bean, employing logic before he speaks; that's new."

Sean clenched his fists and looked down at the floor, unconsciously counting to ten before he spoke. "You know, I don't want to make the best of things and I sure as hell don't want the last thing I do before I die of pneumonia to be fighting with you, so let's get back to the car and get the hell out of here."

As soon as the caustic remark had left his lips, Viggo regretted it. It saddened him to realize that this was how they were with each other now, all too eager to jab or stick in a barb or two, always going for the body blow. It was irrational but it had become second nature. He sat down in one of the rickety chairs by the dining table.

"I can't."

"We're already as wet as we can possibly get, another dash through the rain won't make much of a difference."

"No, Sean, I just ... can't."

Sean looked at Viggo and couldn't remember him ever looking so drawn, so weary. He sat down across from him, eyes fixed on the rough ridges in the wood. "Are you saying we shouldn't have come, you don't want to try?"

"I'm saying ... I'm saying I'd rather we end this than go another minute with things exactly as they are. I'm just as much to blame as you, I'm the one who just took a pot shot at you. Something has to change or we're never going to get it right."

"I agree." Sean slumped further into his seat, scrubbed a hand across his face and sighed. "So what do you want to do?"

"The roads were already pretty treacherous. If I'm going to be stuck somewhere I'd rather it be here than the car."

###

Their coats and any spare material they could find in the cabin were piled onto the bed and they huddled underneath fully clothed, sharing heat but not space. Viggo alternatively stared at the ceiling and at the top of Sean's head, the only part of Sean visible above the covers. It reminded him of how Henry used to sleep, then he shook his head in exasperation when he found himself trying to quickly separate that loving memory from Sean. How long had he been actively creating negative thoughts about Sean and since when did he find it so terrible to have any kind of connection, no matter how small, between him and his son?

"I swear your thinking is shaking the bloody bed." Sean's voice sounded rough and gravelly beneath its nest of coverings.

Viggo frowned, biting back the first words that popped into his head; no need to add fuel to the fire, especially while the storm still trapped them together. He felt more than heard Sean's sigh, glanced over to look at the top of his head again, then clasped his hands together to keep himself from carding through the mussed hair.

"Remember when we got lost in a forest in New Zealand?"

"Not likely to forget that," Sean replied, his voice slightly more muffled. "Was sick for days after that."

"Well, this makes me think of that."

"How?"

"I don't know, it just does."

Sean turned over to face Viggo, letting his eyes appear above the blanket. "You know we can't do this on our own."

"Can't do what?"

"This. Fix it, fix us. We need help."

Viggo quickly pushed himself up to sit against the headboard.

"Dammit Vig, warn a guy when you're going to let all the cold air in. I just stopped shivering."

"Sorry. But I can't talk like that."

Sean slowly sat up, wrapping his arms around his torso. "Yeah, I know."

"So are you saying we should go to a couples' counselor?"

"Yes."

"You want us to go to therapy?"

"What, like I'm some kind of modern day Neanderthal who works out his problems with a stick?"

Viggo sighed. "We just don't seem like the counseling types."

"No."

"I mean we haven't even really tried yet."

"Tried like this trip?"

"Are we finally around to blaming me for all of this? This wasn't just my idea so don't even try it."

"And I've been trying to figure out what we were thinking. I mean, what were we supposed to do up here? Talk it out, hash through everything? Look at us. Every other word out of our mouths is an insult. We're finding things to be angry about, no matter what either of us has actually said."

They sat in silence for a while, pulling the blanket over them as the wind whined through the old windows.

"Here's what I know," Viggo said, breaking into the quiet. "I know this is broken and agreeing to come to the outback of England must mean we both want to fix it."

"I know neither of us has been very good at working through problems in our past relationships."

"I'd say we're the poster children for how to not make a commitment work."

"I know I love you." Sean's voice was practically a whisper but it pierced through the room. For the first time that night they really looked at each other, looked into eyes naked and raw from honesty and sorrow.

A small smile flashed on Viggo's face. "I love you too, despite or because of everything I don't know."

Another moment passed, both men trying to remember how easy it used to be to let those words flow into them.

"We'd have to find someone discrete?" Viggo didn't necessarily like the idea of counseling, but had to grudgingly admit that maybe Sean was right.

"Any ideas how we'd manage that?"

"I don't know, but I can't believe it's impossible. People can go in and out of rehab without the press finding out, this shouldn't be that difficult. I'm sure we both know people we could ask."

"Aye, a few names come to mind."

"So that's it. Assuming we both survive the night we head back to London and start looking for a therapist."

A shudder wracked through Sean's body. "Survive the night may be optimistic."

They shared a brief smile then ducked back under the covers, this time straying slightly closer. Still awkward but much less uncomfortable.

###

A year later a much less violent storm welcomed them as they pulled up to the cabin. Viggo and Sean piled out of the car, laden down with boxes and bags, and hurried inside. There was still no heat but they were pleased to find the electricity was working this time and a pile of dry wood was stacked in the rack. Sean set about unpacking their food while Viggo headed over to start a fire.

Sean pulled out the thermos they'd been drinking from during the drive and poured the remaining coffee into two mugs. He briefly curled his fingers around the ceramic, let the heat seep through his skin. The past year felt like slowly being warmed, chipping away and melting the hard shells they'd built around themselves. For Sean the hardest part of this whole exercise had been expressing his feelings, the good and the bad, not waiting so long the words lost all meaning and purpose.

As the kindling was just starting to spark, Sean tucked a large shoe box under his arm and walked over mugs in hand. Viggo took both cups while Sean sat down beside him, then nodded at the box as he handed Sean his coffee.

"I can't believe you kept all of these. Sean Bean, a sentimental old fool."

"I can't believe you wrote them all."

"You were always more of a phone person."

"Kind of makes it hard to go back and reminisce."

"I still remember. Mostly I remember the tone of your voice, that little hitch and pause before you speak when you're feeling particularly emotional."

Sean smiled and glanced at the growing fire. "My voice, eh?"

"That, right there," Viggo laughed softly and pointed at Sean's mouth. "That little catch." And when Sean blushed, Viggo gently slid his thumb across Sean's lips. Viggo had been more than skeptical that the two of them would work through their problems. He'd found himself completely detached, not wanting to touch or to feel, inexplicably angry. Rediscovering Sean and all he meant to him was almost like taking flight, a steady build and rush of energy, pushing into new heights he'd never experienced before. He'd never believed you could grow more in love with someone over time but over the past twelve months he'd begun to change his mind.

"It's been a rough year," he continued.

"A good year."

Viggo slid the grill across the hearth and scooted closer to Sean. "When we left last time did you think we'd be doing anything but dividing up belongings?"

"Honestly? I'd have let you keep everything but the house in London if it would have sped things along."

Solemnly Viggo raised his mug. "Here's to Dr. Laurence."

Sean tapped Viggo's cup with his own. "May we always have her number on speed dial."

Sharing a laugh they sipped their coffee, letting it and the fire warm them as they settled into the comfortable reality of being here again but under much better circumstances. Together they had coaxed understanding from what had seemed like impenetrable stone and now could once more appreciate a simple touch, relish easy silences.

Viggo carded his fingers through Sean's hair as they moved even closer together. Just as before the wind howled outside, seeping through cracks and rattling windows. But this time the noise was drowned out and the cold chased away by love and renewal, the warmth of a fresh start, hard-earned and well protected. They opened the box, each grabbing a handful of letters, and together began a slow and comforting rewind through their shared life.

slashababy was created by megolas, revised by yueni
fabulous artwork 2002 by Hope
now moderated by MSilverstar & feelforfaith