Sekrit Slasha

Adaptability

Title: Adaptability
Recipient: Azewewish
Author: slashfairy
Pairing: Richard/Aidan (The Hobbit)
Rating: PG-13
Summary: How did Richard find out drinking too much the night before makes one's facial prostheses slide off the next day?
Prompt: ďI like my men to be men.Ē I hope this suits.
Note: I made up the Greek dancing.

New Zealand, 2011-2012.

Boot camp. Name learning, twice over: human and Dwarf. Mask-making. Wig-fitting. Costuming. Meeting one's scale double, stunt double(s), riding double. Learning to fight with axe, sword, spear, and varying degrees of heavy clothing, makeup, prosthetics, wiggery, and for most, fat-suits as well. Flying. Falling. Floating in barrels. Learning to move all over again, with a center of gravity far closer to the ground, and a girth different enough that spinning on your heel could mean falling flat on your arse until you got the hang of it. Not that that was all bad. Good-natured helping each other up became as much of a routine as the falling, firm grips and pats on the shoulder (or the arse) included.

Then there are lines, practiced in costume and out, in makeup and out, in prosthetics and out. Does the voice work? Can the eyes be seen? Is the padding too heavy, constricting breathing, movement, volume? There are stories of the old days when filming stopped for overhead flights because the actors couldn't hear each other over the jets' roar. There are rewrites and rewrites, and the old hands say "Get used to it. It'll be worse when filming starts." †

Thereís learning what each man drinks, and how much. Whoís married, who isnít. Whether someone can carry a tune (Richard) or is best left to mouth the words (Aidan). There are rare days off, for surfing or laundry or sleeping.

Thereís getting to know whoís adventurous, and whoís averse to risk. Martinís a homebody, preferring to Skype with the kids than go out with the lads. Jed knows every place thatís any fun in every place they are, whether Wellington for studio work, or on location. Thereís the inevitable pairing off by interests, by who oneís housemate is, or by accident.

And there are surprises.

Thereís the way they get partnered for sparring, and the way Richard and Aidan get paired often. Thereís the way Richard breaks out in a laugh at the pranks Kili and Fili pull. Thereíre the parties, where Ian will pull any of them up for a dance partner and lead without any question. Thereís the way it becomes ordinary, lying on top of each other in piles in Bilboís doorway, or burlap sacks awaiting their fate at the hands of Goblins.

And thereís this:

Thereís the way that Richard finds out that alcohol, consumed under the influence of a weekend of unusual events, will melt the adhesive of his prosthetics the next day.

Thereís the way that Aidan agreed to come with him for a weekend to see the mountains. Thereís the way theyíre comfortable walking along without speaking, letting the trees and creeks and wind do the talking. Thereís picnic under the clouds, and napping in a dell, and checking into their cabin when they finally get there. Tomorrow a couple of the others are driving up to meet them, but tonight itís just them.

The room is big, two queen beds, flat-screen tv, in-room tea service and microwave. Richard chooses the bed nearer the door. Aidan dumps his rucksack on the other bed, takes off his boots, and claims first shower. Richard grimaces, then accedes, and says heíll make the tea.

The showerís big (no tub) and the towels are thick and the soap is locally made and lathers up wonderfully, and Aidanís in the middle of rinsing the shampoo out of his hair when Richard steps into the shower behind him. Itís a waste of good hot water, Richard says, but Aidan just smiles over his shoulder at him.

Itís every bad porno ever made, isnít it? The quick suck-and-fuck in the shower, leaning on the tile moaning while the other guy gets his rocks off. But thatís not how it goes. Richard scrubs Aidanís back, and Aidan scrubs Richardís, but then Aidan gets out, standing under the heat lamp, and towel dries his hair while Richard sings show tunes to himself.

The restaurant is small but very good, the food fresh and the wine- all New Zealand wine- superb. They finish two, one with the fish and one with the beef, and have another taken to the room, before retiring to the bar for a nightcap. One drink becomes two becomes three becomes a bottle as a conversation about World Cup teams gets heated, with an impromptu haka lesson from three fellows at the bar and the complete history of the All Blacks spun engagingly by the bartender. They donít breathe a word of who they are or why theyíre in New Zealand, PJís secret is safe with them, and Richard pockets the slip of paper with one of their new matesí hiking recommendation on it before they go back not at all unsteadily, to their room.

Richardís brought pajamas. Aidan sleeps in his shorts and t-shirt. Aidan combs conditioner through his hair. Richard flosses after he brushes his teeth.

Both of them have brought condoms. Neither one quite expected that.

Richard laughs first, holds up the bottle of wine. Aidan laughs too and brings two plastic glasses. Richard pours, they toast, but donít drink. They put their wine down and look at each other.

Aidan moves first, but only just. Their noses are too big and Richard gets hair in his mouth and Aidan nearly falls off the foot of the bed when Richard pushes him onto it, but thereís no question, no hesitation. No talk. Just touch. No kissing- later Richard will confess that heíd thought it would feel weird, kissing another man, and Aidan will confess heíd thought the same, then each one will be surprised at the other for that- but thereís touching and tasting, and finding out Aidanís ticklish between his 6th and 7th ribs on his right side and that Richard likes his balls sucked but not hard, and thereís plenty of time to figure out that if they fuck in one bed, they can sleep in the other, if they get that far.

The next day they wake late. The wine, uncorked and undrunk, is on the dresser. Aidanís in Richardís t-shirt. Richardís naked. The headache isnít bad. Hiking with the others goes well, and no-one comments when Richard and Aidan bunk off early after dinner, leaving their fellow dwarves to the All Blacks.†

No-one comments over the next weeks when Aidan and Richard take to spending a lot of time together, or when, on location, they share a flat or trailer or room. They donít flaunt it. Itís just not an issue. Theyíre best mates, and leave it at that.

Oh. The drinking and prostheses?

That was McKellanís birthday party. Someone put on Greek music and Ian insisted on a shot after every toast (not that he drinks like that, no, darling, not at his age, but the rest of these young chaps should drink and dance in his honor!) and Richard and Aidan kept up the them all.

Aidan, of course, has the least wee bit of prosthetics for his nose. No problem.

Richard, however. . . But it was ok. They just shot around him while makeup got him sorted

fic here

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