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Remix of caras_galadhon: Mermaids Singing

Title: Mermaids Singing
Author: azewewish (Brenda)
Original Story: Something More by caras_galadhon
Pairing: Various incarnations of Sean Bean/Orlando/Viggo
Rating: NC-17
Summary: Sean's never been very good at going after what he wants. 5600 words.
Pre-reveal Notes: The title and the beginning quote are from "The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock" by T.S. Eliot.
Post-reveal Notes: As always, cupiscent is the goddess of all things beta, and should be worshipped accordingly.

Disclaimer: This is a non-profit, non-commercial work of fiction using the names and likenesses of real individuals. This fictional story is not intended to imply that the events herein actually occurred, or that the attitudes or behaviors described are engaged in or condoned by the real persons whose names are used without permission.



I have seen the moment of my greatness flicker,
And I have seen the eternal Footman hold my coat, and snicker,
And in short, I was afraid.




"Hey, Sean, it's Orlando."

"Hey, lad, how's it...?"

"It's over."

"Beg pardon?"

"You heard me."

"Yeah...I suppose I did. Are, uh, are you...?"

"Don't be daft, man. You know the answer already."

"Orlando...I told you, I'm not --"

"The hell you're not. You can't lie to me, you know that."

"I never could."

"So, look. I'm serious. Don't fuck this up."

"I won't."

"And take care of him."

"I'll try. And, uh, Orli? Thank you."

"Don't thank me. Fuck knows you've both earned it."


***

A year earlier...


"Hello, hello, what have we here?"

At Orlando's low, admiring whistle, Sean obligingly turned and looked. When it came to men -- and women -- he and Orlando were remarkably on the same page when it came to what they liked, which probably explained why they'd cottoned to each other so well since meeting during rehearsals. It definitely explained why they'd spent most of their nights since in each other's bed, having the sort of marathon, athletic sex that Sean hadn't enjoyed in at least five years. God bless the younger set and their stamina.

"Where?" he asked, after craning his neck and not seeing anything. The pub was crowded this time of night -- days on set were already long even though they'd barely started filming, but everyone was still getting to know each other, and what better way to do that than over a few pints?

"Just walked in with Peter," Orlando replied, and leaned in close to Sean's ear. "Tall, dark, and incredibly handsome. Wonder if that dent in his chin tastes as good as it looks."

"I don't..." Sean trailed off when he finally caught sight of the man walking in next to Peter. "Good God," he murmured, broadsided by his first sight of shaggy hair, a cleft chin, a rangy, yet muscular-looking build and piercingly intelligent ice blue eyes. "Fuck..."

"Hands off, I saw him first," Orlando grinned, and lightly bit Sean's shoulder for emphasis. "Besides, if you're nice, I'll share."

Sean turned and met Orlando's laughing eyes with a quirk of his eyebrow. "No, you won't. And I'm never nice. It's why we get on so well."

Orlando simply smirked and cupped a hand over Sean's crotch under the table. "We get on so well because you've got a magnificent cock and you know how to use it."

Sean nodded in the stranger's direction. "Reckon he knows how to use his?"

"I certainly hope so." Then Orlando tilted his head in the direction of the exit. "C'mon, all of this talk is making me horny. Let's put that magnificent cock of yours to good use."

Sean willingly let himself be dragged out of the pub and towards the sidewalk. He knew a good offer when he heard it and, in truth, he'd been trying to think of a way to suggest that they leave. "Only if you put that mouth of yours to the same good use."

Orlando waggled his brows and stuck out his tongue. "All for you, luv. Besides, I've got to keep in practice for the new bloke."


Later, with Orlando gorgeously naked and on his knees, making choked moans as Sean slammed forward, buried his cock deep in Orlando's throat with hard, fast stabs, Sean's thoughts drifted to a pair of bluer-than-blue eyes and soft, smiling lips. He wondered what those lips would feel like wrapped around him.

Groaning, he turned to the task at hand, and the person with him. "C'mon, y'cunt, take it all," he growled, pushed forward. He grabbed the back of Orlando's head for better leverage, the pads of his fingers catching on the soft bristles of Orlando's newly shorn mohawk. Orlando slid his tongue along the length, then tightened his lips, choked and made beautiful gagging sounds on the next thrust forward.

Sean abruptly pulled out, painted his come across Orlando's open lips, cheeks and throat. When Orlando opened doe-bright eyes, once again, all Sean could see were blue eyes staring back at him with the same rapturous expression.

***

Sean glanced up as a shadow crossed his vision. Immediately, shaggy hair, a dimpled chin and blue eyes, warm with friendliness, came into view. "Viggo Mortensen," the other man said, sticking out a hand.

Sean obligingly shook the offered hand, tried not to linger over deceptively smooth skin. Viggo was even more stunning up close. "Sean Bean," he answered, thankful he was able to find his voice.

"I know," Viggo replied. He settled in the chair next to Sean, cozied close like they were old friends already. "I'm an admirer of your work."

"Thank you. Wish, uh, wish I could say the same," Sean replied, and surreptitiously ran damp hands down his jeans. He looked across the room, watched and smiled as the Hobbits came stumbling in for sword work, all of them yawning and bitching about their late night the night before. "Uh...so, Peter mentioned you'd be bunking with me for a little while."

"If that's alright with you." The corners of Viggo's eyes crinkled when he smiled. Sean tried not to think about what they'd taste like. "Don't worry, I'll try to be neat."

"God why, I won't." At Sean's heartfelt reply, they both laughed, breaking the tension. "But I'm sure we'll get on fine," Sean said, matching the smile. Wondering why he wasn't flirting like he normally did when he saw a person he fancied. He'd had Orlando against the wall and half-naked within an hour of meeting him.

What was so different about this man?

"Looking forward to it," Viggo replied, then gestured in the direction of the rest of the group, still trickling in. "You got anyone here I should know about? I mean, just in case we run into each other in the middle of the night."

"Not like that," Sean replied, thankful that Orlando still hadn't shown up. Then again, after how they'd worn each other out the night before, he was surprised he was still walking upright this morning himself. "I mean, I do, but it's nothing serious," he clarified, then immediately wondered what the hell he was thinking telling a stranger something so personal.

"It's good to have someone."

For just a split second, Sean could have sworn that he saw disappointment in Viggo's eyes.

***

"You still thinking about how to get him?" Orlando asked, and pushed forward, burying his cock to the hilt in Sean's willing ass. Sean gripped the tangled sheets on the bed in both hands and rocked back, the motion impatient.

"N-no...bugger it. Move."

"No." Orlando was true to his word, stilled his hips, cocked nestled comfortably, balls resting against Sean's ass, but not moving. "Not until you're honest with me." He bit Sean's earlobe in a playful bite.

Buggering fucking bugger. "Yesss," Sean finally hissed, then groaned aloud when Orlando pulled back and slammed forward.

"Too bad you're such a cunting pussy," Orlando said conversationally, and gripped Sean's hips, pistoning his own as he moved. "It's been weeks, man."

"Orli..."

"Don't worry." Orlando's teeth slid from Sean's ear to his neck, marking the soft juncture of skin. "I'll take good care of him until you're ready to act."

After that, Orlando didn't give Sean a chance to talk. He just pulled out, then thrust back in, each snap of his hips fast, brutal, thorough. Orlando fucked Sean so hard he saw stars, so well he almost blacked out from the force of his orgasm. He barely thought about Viggo.


The next day, he watched, silent, as Orlando casually asked Viggo out when they were between takes. Viggo, with a toothy, disbelieving grin, only took a second to say yes.

***

"You know Orlando pretty well, right?" Viggo asked, over dinner the next night. He and Sean had developed quite a good routine over the past few weeks, one that included taking turns doing the chores around the small house they both comfortably shared. Tonight, it was Viggo's turn to cook, which meant the kitchen was filled with very interesting scents. Sean wasn't sure what was on the menu, but it didn't matter. He always ate what Viggo put in front of him.

"Sean?" Viggo asked again, and paused in the act of browning the beef on the stove. "You listening?"

"Yeah, sure," Sean lied.

"So, Orlando. Tell me how well you know him."

Sean choked on his beer. Christ, what a question.

"You okay there?"

"Yeah. Of course." Aside from the small heart attack, he was fine. "Why do you want to know?"

"He wants to go out with me. And, well, I might be interested. Figure you know him best. What's he like?"

Bruising and bloody brilliant in bed, fantastic cock and a tongue that could make you see God... Not that he'd dream of telling Viggo that. He wasn't ashamed of what he was doing with Orlando by any stretch, but still. To talk about it, to talk to Viggo about it, just seemed...wrong.

"Orlando's got a great sense of humor," Sean finally replied out loud. "He's fun, funny, madcap as all hell, y'know? Likes to try new adventures, that sort of thing."

"Is that what you think I am to him," Viggo frowned. "A new adventure?"

Sean's eyes tracked Viggo's hands as he transferred the meat from the stovetop to the serving dish. "You'd have to ask him."

"Guess I will." Viggo threw a little chopped coriander and garlic into the mix, then added buttered, steamed squash. "Tell me about yourself, then."

"Not much to tell. Led a pretty boring life, really." Nothing at all like Viggo's nomadic, colorful life. But then, Sean wasn't nomadic or colorful in the slightest, never had been. "Wasn't cut out for miner's work, went to RADA on a whim, got a bit of a break and still making a go of it, three failed marriages, three beautiful daughters."

"Somehow I don't think RADA takes people who just decide to go on a whim." Viggo held out the mixing spoon and Sean took the offered bite.

"It's good."

"Needs more tarragon."

"If you say so."

"Three marriages, hmm?" Viggo mused, glancing at Sean from under his lashes. "I couldn't manage the one myself."

"I'm stubborn," Sean replied, and grinned when Viggo let out an amused chuckle. Something inside him warmed up every single time he got Viggo to laugh. Christ, he really was turning into a girl.

"Could be you're doing it wrong. I mean, the women part," Viggo clarified, when Sean shot him a blank look.

"Never could find a bloke who could put up with me that long, either."

"Could be you've been hanging around the wrong men."

"Could be," Sean replied, easily, and cursed himself for a coward when the flirtatious comeback he wanted to make died in his throat.

***

"So, what secrets do I need to know about my Elf here?" Viggo asked, and tumbled a laughing Orlando onto his lap. It was Astin's turn to host the weekly Fellowship Beer-a-thon (so Dom called it), and already, everyone was well on their way towards pleasantly buzzed.

"How much time've you got?" Elijah grinned, and was cuffed on the back on the head by Billy as he walked past.

"None of that. We keep our secrets here."

"Yes, but Viggo's part of the Fellowship now," Elijah argued. "He should know everything."

"If it's Elijah telling the stories, you know it's all lies," Orlando stated.

Viggo placed a quick kiss to upturned lips. "I'll be the judge of that."

"Besides," Billy continued, with a twinkle in his eyes, "if you really want to know all about our fair Orlando, you'd have to talk to Sean. That one knows him better than anyone."

"Already tried," Viggo lamented, with a grin in Sean's direction. "He wouldn't give them up."

"That's because he's a proper friend," Orlando declared, before Sean could say anything, and then leaned in, murmuring softly into Viggo's ear, but loud enough for Sean to overhear, "And, besides, if you want to know me, you'll have to work at it."

"I plan on it," Viggo replied, quietly, and their soft, slow kiss was the most beautiful sort of torture.

***

Viggo twirled his sword like a pro, the morning burst of sunlight glinting off of it in flashes of silver. Sean was content to watch and admire the play of muscles under Viggo's shirt. Beyond their chairs, Peter was working with one of the units shooting Rohan footage, giving patient instructions over his headset.

"You've seen the schedule for the next few weeks, I take it?" Viggo asked, without pausing.

"Yeah," Sean replied, then shuddered. Flying in one of those death traps Peter called a heli, indeed. "I was thinking of driving to join the group in the South Island, to be honest." Had been thinking of a way to get the courage to invite Viggo, just to have some true time alone. Even Orlando seemed to think it was a good idea, and had actively encouraged it.

"Road trips are good." Viggo went from jabbing at imaginary foes with his sword to practicing the intricate footwork for the Mines of Moria scenes. "Haven't done one in a while."

Sean couldn't have scripted the opportunity any better if he'd tried. He opened his mouth, certain he could do it this time, the words on the tip of his tongue --

"You should take Orlando with you."

"Beg pardon?"

Viggo smiled sheepishly. Sean found himself momentarily struck dumb by the sight of twin dimples. "He's been wanting to see some of the sights, but I haven't felt up to it. Been spending too much time fishing with Karl."

"I'd noticed." Noticed and mostly succeeded in not being jealous of Karl's easy friendship with Viggo. It had become easier once Orlando had told him that Karl was passionately devoted to his wife.

"I think I'm too boring for him," Viggo continued. "Orlando, I mean."

"Orlando's not as fickle as you think." Christ, the chivalry was going to kill him one day.

"Probably not. But I think it'd be good for him. Unless, uh, you'd rather not. I mean, if you're sick of him..."

"Not at all," Sean replied with a benign smile. You have no idea, he thought, and wondered when he'd start to hate himself.

***

"I still can't believe you didn't insist Viggo come with you."

"Fuck, Orli, if the bloody man can't take a hint..."

Orlando shook his head sadly as he glanced out the car window to the passing scenery. "Bad as a woman you are with all of your hints. Not that I mind having you all to myself for a few hours, you understand, but still."

"Pervert," Sean replied fondly. Trust Orlando to know the proper way to get him out of his black mood.

He caught Orlando's grin out of the corner of his eye. "So, that's a no on the blowjob, then?"

"Said you were a pervert. Never said I was stupid," Sean replied, and lifted one hand from the steering wheel so Orlando could slither down to his lap and work open his zipper.

The drive, once they'd gotten the initial bout of sex out of the way, had turned out to be quite pleasant -- full of ribald jokes and Sean's off-color stories of his early days on other shoots -- until the showers came. By the time they found a dry place to stay put, the rain was coming down so hard that Sean couldn't see two feet in front of him. The roads both ahead and behind them were completely flooded to hell.

Their luck managed to hold out long enough for them to find a place to hole up and wait out the storm, and in finding a working phone just down the road to call Peter and the rest of the Fellowship to let them know what was happening.

"So?" Sean asked, when Orlando came back into the small house, drenched from head to toe. He'd volunteered to go make the call if Sean got a fire going.

"Viggo said to tell you to buck up, and to take good care of me."

Trust Viggo, Sean thought, and laughed at the irony. "He did, did he?"

Orlando's grin was unholy. "Mmhmm."

"And?"

"Could be a few days before they can get to us," Orlando replied, stripping off his shirt and gratefully taking the towel Sean held out to him.

"Few days?" A few days all holed up with Orlando with nowhere to be... There were definitely worse fates to suffer.

Orlando looked up, the glint in his eyes wickedly bright. "You thinking what I'm thinking?"

Sean shrugged, a deceptive motion that he knew fooled neither of them. "I'm thinking it's gonna be a long couple of days until we're rescued, so we may as well make the most of it."

Orlando ran his hands along Sean's shirt, drew it off his head in a smooth motion. "I like the way you think."

"I thought you might," Sean replied, and met the clash of Orlando's teeth with his own.



"So what's he like?" Sean asked, much later on, when they were tangled together in a pile of sticky, sweaty limbs on the narrow bed.

"Sean..." Orlando placed a soft kiss to Sean's neck and snuggled closer. The fire crackled merrily in the fireplace. "Don't ask me that."

Sean tightened his arm across Orlando's shoulders. "I want to know."

"No you don't. And in any case, you know I won't tell you."

"Yeah," Sean replied softly. "But I had to ask."

"You wouldn't be you if you didn't."

***

"Colder'n a witch's teat out here," Sean complained, teeth chattering as he wrapped his sodden cloak about him for a bit of warmth. Just his luck, he was going to freeze to death while fighting a CGI creation that Peter had informed him was akin to the Loch Ness monster of Middle Earth. Helluva thing to put on a gravestone.

Next to him, Viggo let out a huffed laugh. He didn't look much warmer. "Haven't heard anyone use that phrase in awhile."

"Privilege of age."

"You're hardly old," Viggo replied, and scooted closer, his warmth tantalizingly close. "How many more takes do you think Pete'll make us do?"

"Knowing him, he'll make us go all night," Sean guessed, and bit his lip to keep his teeth from chattering.

"C'mere," Viggo said, and held an arm open in invitation. Sean gratefully slid over, and snuggled close. Tried not to get too close, to breathe in, inhale Viggo's scent, imprint it on his memory. Tried not to relax into the strong arm wrapped around him, the feel of a strong thigh nestled against his.

If he closed his eyes and didn't think, he could pretend, just for a moment...

***

Orlando stalked into the trailer, slamming the door open so hard it threatened to fall off its hinges. Viggo followed closely behind, looking just as murderous. Clearly in the middle of an argument, but Sean couldn't make himself leave the room, even though he knew he should give them their privacy.

"It didn't work," Orlando said, anger making his voice deep, rough in a way it normally only got during sex.

"What's that?" Viggo asked. He crossed his arms, tried for cool and collected. But Sean could see that he was just as pissed off.

"Oh, come off it. You were doing everything except sticking my hand down Dom's pants last night."

"You're the one that kissed him."

"He was kissing on everyone. We were drunk. I don't fucking want him."

"He's more your type, though."

Orlando stepped close, poked a finger to Viggo's chest. His voice was soft, deadly serious. "You have no idea what my type is."

The bitch of it was, Orlando had a point. Viggo really had no idea who Orlando really was.

"Is that supposed to make me feel better?" Viggo finally asked, just as quietly. "That I don't know you."

"No," Orlando replied. "It just means you've got a lot to learn about me. I'm not what you think."

"And what I think is that maybe this old man isn't enough for you..."

"Bugger that, Vigs, cut it with the age thing. Like that matters to me. 'Sides, you're the one acting like the bloody teenager around here."

"What the fuck is that supposed to mean?"

"Figure it out."

With that, Orlando brushed past Viggo. He didn't seem surprised to see Sean standing there, blatantly eavesdropping. "You can bloody well have him," he growled as he stalked back out, the door slamming behind him

But Sean knew Orlando well enough to know that Orlando didn't mean it. At least, not like that.

"Hey, Vig," he said, and sank to the sofa next to Viggo. "Quite a fight."

"Yeah." Viggo sighed, scrubbed a tired hand across his face. "He's just so..."

"Passionate?"

"Young," Viggo corrected. "I don't know what the hell I'm thinking. I don't know what the hell he's thinking, getting mixed up with me."

"Maybe he's got a thing for older men," Sean suggested gently.

"Maybe." Viggo shook his head, his bark of laughter derisive. "I think he'd have been better off with you, though, if that's truly his taste."

Sean just patted Viggo on the back, his fingers lingering ever so slightly, and said nothing.


By the next morning, Orlando and Viggo acted as if nothing had happened. Sean watched as Orlando wrapped deceptively slender arms around Viggo's waist and Viggo leaned back into the embrace, the perfect picture of contentment. And wondered at the human capacity for denial.

***

Orlando met Sean's knock on his door with a resigned shake of his head. "Still not ready yet, hmm?"

"Bugger off," Sean stated, stepping into the living room. "I know you're not seeing him to spite me."

"I never was." Orlando settled on the sofa. "He's a great bloke. Funny, talented, smart, passionate about the same things I am, and he's fantastic in the sack. I love him dearly." Orlando sat forward, gaze piercing Sean's very soul. "But I'm not right for him. You are. And the sooner you get your head out of you arse and claim him, the happier you'll both be."

"He's a man, not a prize," Sean scoffed, even though inwardly he was shaking at just the thought.

"Then stop acting like you've already lost."

"Maybe we could...you know," Sean shrugged, hating himself for asking. For begging, when he hadn't the right.

"Jesus, man. That's your idea of a solution?" Orlando asked, incredulously.

"What? You don't think...?"

"No, I don't fucking well think. At all."

"What's wrong with it? You afraid of sharing him?" Sean asked, knowing he was straining the bonds of friendship, but unable to stop himself.

"Shut up. You sound pathetic."

The insult stung, perhaps a little more than it otherwise would have. "At least I'm trying."

"No, you're still looking for an excuse not to act."

"And you're still looking for an excuse to keep us apart."

Orlando's snort was short, derisive. "Fuck you and your martyr act. I waited three weeks before I asked him out and you never said boo to the man beyond friendship. And now you're all acting like we should dogpile together in a happy threesome? Are you completely out of your tree?"

"I just thought..."

"Look," Orlando continued, over Sean's half-hearted protest. "I love you. I really do. But you can be so obtuse sometimes. You're not built like that. Vigs isn't built like that. And it would destroy both of you if you did this."

The hell of it was, Sean knew Orlando was right. But some small ray of hope died all the same. "It was just an idea."

"A bad one," Orlando said, then patted the space next to him. "Now c'mere. I don't want to argue with you, and I think we could both use the stress release."

"Why are we still doing this?" Sean asked, even though he crossed the room and sank to his knees between Orlando's legs, already reaching for the buttons of Orlando's jeans.

Orlando sank back into the cushions. His fingers were gentle, loving, as they stroked through Sean's hair. "Because I'm as close as you'll let yourself get right now. And I'm too greedy to say no."

***

"Hey, Sean, it's Vig."

Right on time, Sean thought to himself. He was pathetically grateful for the weekly calls since he'd left New Zealand to fly home to finalize his divorce. "Hey, you! How are you?"

"Good, good. Can't complain. How's London?" Viggo asked. He sounded much too far away.

"Cold. Wishing I was down under with you lot, surfing and taking in the sun. How's Orlando?"

"Oh, you know Orli. Still as crazy as ever."

"Long as you two are still..."

"Oh, yeah. Yeah, we are, thanks for asking."

"Good. Glad to hear it," Sean replied. He hated himself for the lie.

"Hey, listen, when you get back from London, we should all have dinner, get caught up..."

"I'd love to," he said, and wondered why he was torturing himself.

***

"And how are my favorite pair of filthy humans?"

"Right on time as usual," Sean joked, and pretended not to care that Viggo leaned up to give Orlando a nice, slow-motion kiss.

"I'm always on time," Orlando retorted. His lips were pleasantly bruised from Viggo's.

"I didn't think you even owned a watch," Viggo grinned, and Orlando returned it easily as he moved past Viggo towards the refrigerator. His hand brushed lightly across the small of Sean's back, lingered, the touch steadying him. Already, Sean was anticipating sneaking into Orlando's bed later, of inhaling Viggo's scent on Orlando's skin, of biting those kiss-bruised lips.

He knew he should feel guilty. But he also knew the guilt wouldn't stop him.

***

"Christ, Orlando," Sean moaned, unable to stop himself from rubbing against Orlando's back, "I can practically taste his come on you..."

"Take me to bed and you can do more than this," Orlando murmured. He reached back, pulled Sean flush against him. "Goddamn, you're so hard for this, aren't you?"

"Orli..."

Orlando twisted in Sean's hold. "Take me to bed," he said, and bit at Sean's neck. "Take me to bed and I'll let you lick his come from my ass..."



Sean woke up with a start, panting for breath, sheets soaked with sweat and sticking to his legs. His cock was painfully hard, balls painfully full. "Fuck," he groaned, and fell back to the pillows.

Then he heard it.

The tell-tale muffled thumping from across the hall. Orlando's low moans mixed with Viggo's. Audible even through Sean's closed door.

Sean closed his eyes and grabbed his cock. Jerked off in time to the sounds of Viggo fucking someone else.

***

Sean almost said no to the Fellowship Beer-a-thon the next night. He'd felt raw all day, scraped and bruised from too-vivid dreams.

"You look tired," Viggo said, when Sean finally showed up, late and in desperate need of a few shots of something strong. He slapped the bottle into Sean's hand, his voice concerned.

"It's nothing," Sean replied, hating that Viggo was seeing him like this. Lied again like the pro he was. "Lingering jetlag, you know how it goes."

"Just take it easy, alright."

"With you doting on me like a grandmother, how could I not?"

"Grandmother, huh? Think I could pull off the blue hair?" And, seeing Viggo's unguarded, bright smile, Sean suddenly knew what he had to do.

"I think you could do anything you set your mind to," he replied, and the forced smile was the best acting job he'd ever done in his life.

Later, after another beer to keep up his courage, Sean made his way over to Orlando. He allowed his hand to rest comfortably along the small of Orlando's back. But this time -- for the first time since they'd met -- the touch was friendly, yet nothing more. Out of the corner of his eye, he could see Orlando's soft smile.

"I'd wondered when this day would come."

Sean could only marvel at Orlando's ability to, once again, read his mind. "Would it be trite of me to say I'll miss it?"

"Fuck no." The reply was heartfelt. "You think I won't?" Then Orlando half-turned, wrapped his arm around Sean's waist in a welcoming hug. "Proud of you."

In a strange way, Sean was proud of himself. His gaze sought Viggo, who was across the room listening intently to something Ian was saying. "You'll take good care of him."

It wasn't a question.

"Until you're ready," Orlando replied, and Sean loved him all the more for the lie. They both knew what this meant.

Funny. He'd always assumed that saying goodbye would hurt more.

***

Over the next few weeks, Sean settled into his role. Settled into friendship with Orlando as easily as he'd settled into the sex, settled into watching Viggo and Orlando together. After awhile, he could even look at Viggo without his heart stuttering or his breath catching. One day, he knew, he'd probably think back on his time in New Zealand with fond memories, great friendships, and a lingering regret, but he knew it couldn't have happened any other way.

He just didn't have it in him to start again. Not at his age. Not with his history.

Then Orlando -- fittingly so -- managed to change his life yet again.



"I need to talk to you," Orlando said without preamble one morning. Sean took one look at Orlando's bloodshot eyes, and the smartass remark he'd been about to make died in his throat.

"Trailer. Five minutes," he gently replied. "I'll get Billy to distract Viggo."

Five minutes later, as promised, Sean flipped the lock on the trailer door and turned, facing Orlando, who, if anything, looked worse. "What's going on?"

"I, uh..." For the first time that Sean had known him, Orlando looked young, unsure. "I cheated on Viggo."

"You'd been doing that with me for months," Sean pointed out, as kindly as he could.

"You're...it was different, now, wasn't it? You were before Vigs, and we both know why we kept on after."

Orlando, as he so often did, had a point. "Who, then?"

"Marton." The way Orlando said his name told Sean everything he needed to know.

"Marton, hmm?"

"Yeah." Orlando scrubbed a hand over his face. "We were drunk last night at the pub and Viggo'd left early, said he was tired, and then it was just me and Marton, and I kissed him on a dare, and it just sort of...escalated once I walked him home later."


Curiosity had Sean asking the next question. "And? How was it?"

"Cheeky," Orlando laughed, shaking his head. The sound was a welcome one. "Why am I not surprised you'd want to know?"

"Because you know me," Sean replied, and held out an arm.

Orlando took the hint and stepped into the embrace. He dropped his head to Sean's shoulder, and waited until Sean wrapped a friendly arm around his waist. "It was fucking amazing. Better than you, even."

"Now I feel flattered," Sean smiled, then grew serious. "How'd Viggo take it?"

"How d'you know I told him?"

"Because I know you just as well."

Orlando nodded at the truth in Sean's statement. "Badly, how d'you expect? I told him it wouldn't happen again, but..."

"But?"

"Christ, this is embarrassing."

"What?"

"I really like him."

"Marton?"

"Yeah." Orlando paused. "This changes things."

"Love always does."

***

In the end, Sean wasn't remotely surprised when he came home the next day to his phone ringing and Orlando on the other end. Nor was he at all surprised when, not even an hour later, Viggo showed up, disheveled and dazed, on his front step. Deep down, he'd always known this day would come.

Sean listened to Viggo's side of the story after ushering him into the kitchen and making some tea. Viggo cradled the mug like he thought it would break, stumbled over each word, like he was testing them out for the first time. Sean just sat, quietly, and hoped his silence would be answer enough.

"The bitch of it is, I can't say I'm surprised," Viggo concluded finally, voice hoarse from talking. He took a small sip of his tea, the sound surprisingly loud in the quiet of the room.

"I don't understand." Even though Sean did.

"I love Orli. Probably always will." Something Sean understood completely, but he doubted Viggo would ever be ready to hear it. In any case, it wasn't a story that Sean ever thought he'd share. "But we're not... We don't fit," Viggo continued, and in his weary eyes, Sean finally saw what he'd seen that long ago first day that they'd met. "And I think maybe he and Marton do." Viggo slid his hand across the table to lightly clasp Sean's. "And I think maybe I've been an idiot."

"Doesn't matter now," Sean told him. And it really didn't. Nothing else that came before mattered, nothing that either of them had done before mattered.

Sean kept his eyes on Viggo's as he kissed Viggo's palm, reveled in Viggo's answering hitched breath. Finally found the courage to let Viggo see everything he'd kept to himself for almost a year. Finally found the words he should have said a long time ago.

"I always knew we'd get here in the end."


***
Tags: 2008 remix
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