Original story: Patron Muse by caras_galadhon
Pairing: Sean Bean / Viggo Mortensen; Orlando Bloom, Karl Urban
Post-reveal Notes: Beta: kittylass
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. One day, Armor looked down onto earth and saw the sacred arse. Naturally, he took out his bow and arrows for some target practice.
Basically it all starts with Orlando having a pint with Sean Bean. Well, this is not actually something Orlando really has gotten used to so far. One day he is in drama school and hoping to score a commercial job for hairgel (don't ask) and the next he is in New Zealand, starring in the biggest trilogy of all times and having a pint with Sean frigging Bean.
Each evening, after PJ has kicked them out of Middle Earth a bunch of them regularly goes out for a drink or two. However, he and Sean are on their own tonight because Karl, Sala and Lawrence have offered to show the new guy around. What's his name again?
"Viggo," Sean says and Orlando (not for the first time) has to ask himself whether he's taken up saying his thoughts out loud.
"What?" he replies intelligently.
"Veeggo," Sean repeats and takes a swig from his beer. He has foam on the tip of his nose when he talks on. "He is quite the nice bloke, isn't he?"
"You got –" Orlando replies and rubs his nose by way of explanation. Sean dries the beer off with his collar and looks at him expectantly. "Uhm, I guess?" Orlando agrees noncommittally.
"Watched a couple of his films," Sean says and inspects the beer stain on his shirt.
"They were crap, mostly." Sean grins at him and drinks up, orders another pint from the barman with the same motion. "But he is good."
It has shaken them all a little to see Stewart leave and some of them remain skeptical towards his last minute replacement. Most of them actually, except for Karl (which is unsurprising because Karl likes everyone) and apparently the usually so reticent Sean.
"Talked to him earlier," Sean interrupts Orlando's musings. "He is a football fan. San Lorenzo, I think."
Which explains a lot, Orlando thinks and smiles into his beer.
"That scar on his upper lip," Sean ponders. "Wonder where he got that." Orlando opens his mouth to answer but the other man already continues, "And did you hear how he reacted to the welcome Bob and the guys gave him?" Orlando was there when Sala told them but he doesn't get the chance to say as much. Sean's already in the middle of retelling him the tale of brave Sir Viggo. At length. With rather dubious parts of reenactment and even stranger little sighs thrown in. Orlando is nursing the last puddle of beer in his glass when Sean finally finishes, "My kind of bloke, that is."
"So, slightly bonkers, good with a sword and able to make Boromir drool in .2 seconds flat," Orlando sums up and grins broadly. "Exactly the qualities our Aragorn needs."
"Shut it," Sean laughs and cuffs Orlando's shoulder amiably almost causing him to fall off his barstool. "He'll fit right in, you just mark my words. He's a decent guy," he traces the rim of his glass with his index finger contemplatively, "and he has quite remarkable eyes."
"Gosh, I was just about to say the exact same thing," Orlando replies dryly and this time he falls off his stool when Sean shoves him. While he picks himself up from the floor and notices that his legs are slightly wobbly already, Sean orders a refill of crisps and starts talking about the dimple on Viggo's chin or something.
"Oi, Urban, you still not back from that tour? Man, I hate answering machines – I always talk myself into knots and in the end don't know where I started off. Are you sure you're not there? I reckon I'm a bit sloshed... Anyhow, I kinda envy you the night off as it were. I got stuck with Bean and man, he nearly chewed my fucking ear off. 'Veeggo this and Veeggo that and hasn't he got gorgeous eyes, hands, feet, nose hair?'. I'd be laughing my arse off if my ears weren't bleeding right now. Anyhow, gimme a call when you're back. It's no fun slagging people off like this, you're a far better audience than this stupid machine."
II. The Goddess of love Aphrodite is both very delusional as well as one track minded. Hence it is not surprising that her latest lovechild (a Dane born in NYC) has a strong liking for weed.
Karl likes to bathe with rubber ducks. He also sleeps naked even in the chilliest winter, believes in aliens and plays rugby without having his ears duct taped to his head. Karl also believes and does several other things that entitle him to call himself at least a little whacked. Okay (considering that time when he let Orlando talk him into naked bungee jumping), a lot whacked. Point is Karl knows what he is talking about when he says, "Vig, you're completely mad."
Viggo turns his head and looks at him with that funny, uncomprehending expression on his face he has reserved as response to sensible suggestions. Then he beams. "This is gonna be fun!"
In the river rapids hunt each other down like rabid dogs and Karl suffers from shrinkage merely thinking of the water's temperature. Fun. Yeah, right.
Viggo however is serious and after yet another powwow with Peter and the Stunties he goes for a dip. "Aragorn needs this", he says merrily though Karl privately thinks that Viggo is just a good old fashioned masochist who probably sleeps in the fridge just for kicks.
Viggo, in the meantime, has waded into the water, and – after the loud 'ACTION' – has gone under. Thing is, so far he hasn't resurfaced. Karl brushes some blond strands out of his face and watches the crew at the shoreline go mental. Still no sight of Viggo. Huh. Karl goes and gets himself a coffee.
When he comes back, carrying an extra cup with no milk and two sugars, Viggo sits in his chair very much alive. He's completely soaked and the bits and pieces of him that stick out from under the silver thermo blanket look kind of blue.
"I think in my next life I'm gonna be a walrus," he announces. Karl hands him his spare cup of coffee. Viggo practically inhales the content and then goes on seamlessly, "And I think Sean would make a really good polar bear."
"Because he is a grumpy antisocial bastard?" Karl asks as he sits down, getting river dirt all over Éomer's armor.
"Because he's majestic," Viggo corrects him. "And he'd have really warm fur." His teeth clatter on their own accord behind his blue lipped smile.
"Don't polar bears eat walruses?"
"We all have to die at some point or other," Viggo says wisely and the stunt coordinator next to them looks a little sick. Viggo licks the last remains of coffee out of his Styrofoam cup and then says, "But I suppose you have a point. I'll change to Inuit then."
"Eskimos kill polar bears," Karl points out reasonably and tries to scratch some mud off his boots with the tip of his sword.
Viggo snorts which sounds like he has been taking lessons from Brego. "Sean is an Inuit as well. We go hunting together, keep each other warm at night, and drink maté together. Or cod liver oil since I doubt that Argentinean exports reach the poles."
Karl's eyebrows rise, apparently trying to reach the glueline of his wig. Viggo on the other hand looks like something inside of him, ignited by his twisted idea of domestic bliss, keeps him warm and saves him from shivering himself to death. He looks over to Karl and he has that glimmer in his eyes that usually is the ring card girl for something very wise or something very silly.
"I had sort of a near death experience just there," he says slowly as if only now coming to terms with it. "And I realized something important."
"Does it have to do with you and Sean and no clothes on?" Karl asks with a half smile because somewhere underneath the silver blanket and the thick layer of crazy Viggo is actually serious.
Viggo grins crookedly at him. "Mostly, yes."
"Is there a hetero friendly version of this?" Karl asks without much hope.
Viggo answers by calling Sean the Sundance to his Butch and explaining to him en detail how the two of them would be perfect bank robbers together. For a moment Karl is distracted because Philippa hands him a few rewritten pages. When he focuses on Viggo again the other man has developed a God complex atop all his various other quirks – now he is Zeus and Sean is his Ganymede. Karl really wishes that right about now PJ would show up and demand a repetition of Aragorn's near suicide.
"Mate," he says when finally Viggo is finished with his epic tale of epicness and on top of that looks less blue and more human and alive again, "mate, have you even kissed him yet?"
Viggo just gives him that strange uncomprehending look again as if Karl is the one with a sanity problem. Karl figures that translates to 'no' and shakes his head in resignation.
"Orli, where the hell are you? No reception – the fuck? I figured out why Viggo is so wrong in the head: No sex. Think not jerking off for a couple of weeks and then multiply that. Explains it all. We need to get him laid and soon – I'm pretty certain that Tolkien wouldn't approve if suddenly Aragorn rides Boromir instead of Brego. Let's keep it simple and just lock him and Sean up for as long as it takes. Throw in some Viagra just to make sure. Call me – or better just get Sean to tag along to that bbq at Harry's tonight, yeah? – Zeus and Ganymede... my ass."
III. Ever since Sean and Viggo got together Eros, the God of lust, is so in for an overtime premium.
Orlando hates Karl. He hates him more than back pain, early calls and tea without milk. He even hates him more than he hated his sister when she ripped the head off of his He-Man action figure and he was left with a hunk of meat who couldn't lead his troops into battle against Skeletor.
Sean has cornered him at the London premiere of 'Fellowship' and Orlando knows all the press call photos will have him looking doe eyed and shit. Mostly because he feels like a deer in fucking headlights. Sean has his arm around Orlando's shoulder and Orlando knows that he's not safe from anything. Karl is the one responsible for all this with his 'Oi, mate, let's help Viggo and Sean have their happy ending' bullshit. Karl is thousands of miles away in New Zealand. Fucker.
"I like your shirt," Sean murmurs, lips not moving while he and his perfectly tailored suit stand next to Orlando. "Very posh."
"Sod off," Orlando grins and elbows Sean in the side, causing that Bean grin to freeze momentarily.
After the movie (which is frigging aces, no matter how often Orlando watches it) he and Sean leave the theatre together.
"Let's get ourselves some proper beer," Sean suggests with a pat on Orlando's shoulder. "I've had it with the bubbly."
And Orlando couldn't agree more. Of course they have to attend the party – which is not really a duty, Orlando still hasn't gotten used to all the fuss that is been made and he really doesn't need any champagne to feel giddy. Viggo is off to do some sort of mating ritual / Spanish dancing with Liv, Sean gets Orlando a pint of bitter and they talk about the movie with Bernard and Ian. Then someone calls Sean away and Orlando thinks he might've just gotten away lucky and goes dancing with Dom and Elijah.
Of course, Orlando is wrong and this is why he hates stupid Cupid-playing Karl. Because later that night, Sean and he find themselves at the bar again and Sean has that look to him, like he has taken too many Viagra pills and this has not only caused him a perpetual boner but also some brain damage.
"Uh –" Orlando says and tries to think of something to distract Sean with. "I really, really liked Boromir's death scene. Very uh – intense. You're a great actor."
Surely, talking about acting will keep Sean from oversharing... other stuff. There's just one thing Orlando (who is on his forth beer by now) has forgotten to take into equation. Stupid Aragorn.
"Ta," Sean says. "Viggo ate garlic that day."
"Uh-huh," Orlando replies weakly, knowing all hope is lost. "And Lawrence, he was fantastic as well. Super job, make up did, didn't it?"
"Sure," says Sean and nods. "Viggo also was hard as a rock. Which I suppose I should take as a compliment, right?"
"Meep," Orlando says. He really does. Sean ignores it.
"'course I was, too. But we weren't filming porn, were we, so that was a bit inconvenient." Sean and rubs his chin at the memory while Orlando contemplates whether he can drown himself in his remaining beer.
He dares to look up again when Sean's quiet for a moment and he finds the other man looking at him fondly.
"Thanks," Sean says, and his voice is gentle and tentative, like he usually talks when he's amongst friends and doesn't need to play it up. "I know it were thanks to your nudging that Vig and I - ," he smiles and it's such a broad and boyishly happy smile that for a moment Orlando feels mean and jaded for ever thinking low of his friend. "- that we got each other."
"Cheers, mate," Orlando says, equally quietly in midst the still buzzing party around them, and raises his glass. He nearly chokes on his next mouthful of beer, when Sean steers back on track.
"Though I could've done without the sore arse during all that horseback riding," Sean says merrily. "Prolly should've known that Vig were using a double headed coin when we were flipping for it. You remember that night when you and Dom borrowed my car and hid that fish in the boot?"
Orlando knows now that he's being punished. He hates Karl and he hates Dom and he'd swear on his headless He-man that he'd never ever pull a prank on someone again if he could just get some earplugs right now.
"Sean, I –," he tries.
"Nevermind," Sean purrs and Orlando knows he has seen that grin before. It belongs to that maniac MI6 agent that he played in Goldeneye. "I had a good night there. Did you know," he puts and arm around Orlando's shoulder amiably, "that Viggo's feet are really sensitive? Just lick them a bit and if you bite the arch while fucking him he'll cum just like that. Quite amazing trait, that."
"Please," Orlando begs pathetically and frantically tries to keep the mental image of gay sex, Sean's cock and Viggo's dirty feet from growing roots in his brain. "I want to die."
"Did you know," Sean prattles on and tightens his headlock on Orlando a little more, "that the French call orgasms 'little deaths'? Remember the night you and Karl played knock and run at Vig's? He fucked me unconscious that night. One minute I was a bloody mess under him and begged him to never stop doing that thing with his hips and then it was suddenly fifteen minutes later."
"Oh God," Orlando whimpers and flails a little like a fish on land. "Can't you simply kill me? Or sell me into slavery, I don't care."
Sean booms with laughter, lets go of Orlando's head and then tells him en detail which places Viggo likes having licked best and in what order.
Orlando hates his life. And Sean. And Viggo's armpits.
"Someone knock me over the head with something heavy so I lose my short term memory."
"Orli? Are you crying?"
"It's Bean's fault. I hate that man."
"I thought he was your personal hero?"
"Yeah, that was before he forced me to listen to a detailed description of his and Viggo's private time."
"A bit homophobic there, Orli?"
"Fuck you, I'm not. I mean I love you like a brother –"
"Yeah, yeah, whatever. But anyhow, I love you but I still don't want a minute by minute account of, say, Hunter's birth. Know what I mean?"
"Mate, Viggo made me proof read a love poem for him. He spends his free time coming up with rhymes and creative metaphors for 'cock'."
"Quit whining, you pussy. I know now where he sticks that metaphor."
"Lalala I can't hear you."
"Exactly. I mean I'm real thrilled for them and all. I just want to think of them as holding hands and know nothing more. Is that too much to ask?"
"You know, 'sock' rhymes with 'cock'..."
"I hate you."
IV. "What?! I'm not invited to the wedding?" screeched Eris, Goddess of discord. "Gay marriage isn't even legal in most states," the narrator points out. "Like I care!" Eris huffs and stomps off.
For an actor, Viggo is pretty useless when it comes to pretending. Karl has always known it and always found that quite endearing – if anything about this strange man (who easily took lead of their fellowship within a week and who reads Kierkegaard and graphic novels during his lunch break) can be called endearing.
And it's not that Karl can call himself a particularly sensible person. He's not one of those people that can tell when something is up, he hasn't got this inner seismograph for his friend's feelings or anything. In fact, every time when Orlando tries to have a meaningful conversation with him he already starts it with 'listen, jackass, I need you to be compassionate and understanding now, got that?' so Karl doesn't miss his cues.
But Viggo? Man, Karl would have to be a fucking blind and mute Vulcan to not be able to read him. Viggo is pretty expressive about everything – instead of saying hello he fucking head butts you, instead of saying 'I like you' he rugbytackles you to the ground and shit like that. This stuff is widely known, everyone in New Zealand made fun of it and by now the whole world has to know how to read Viggo Mortensen like a fucking picture book.
Which is why, when Karl meets Viggo in the Imperial Hotel in Tokyo, he only needs to take one look at the other man to know that something is wrong.
"Hey, Karl," Viggo says quietly and smiles quietly and Karl wishes he'd just jump him like a monkey and embarrass the both of them in front of the polite Japanese hotel staff.
"Come here, you, and say hello like a man," Karl laughs and pulls Viggo into a hug whether the other man wants it or not. Viggo feels small in his arms for a moment and Karl has this weird thought of him shriveling into nothingness right here. Then finally Viggo's hands clasp his shoulders.
"It's good to see you," Viggo murmurs against Karl's shirt. "'m glad you could come."
"Sure," Karl says and squeezes Viggo's slender frame once more before letting him go again. "Anytime. Especially since I'm not paying for it."
A weak smile curls Viggo's scarred lips – they work too much and too long during the promotion for Two Towers but at least they get to raid mini bars and steal hotel towels.
They have a late night snack together and talk about this and that. But with Karl's slight jetlag and Viggo's apparent absentmindedness they call it a night pretty early before Karl is able to put his finger on why all of this feels wrong somehow, on what's missing.
The next day they have this press thing with a little bit of everything and Viggo's still too quiet. Karl finds himself automatically counterbalancing it by being a little too much of everything – too loud, too tactile, too chatty and he even manages to accidentally start to sing while standing on a chair (though he isn't sure how that happened).
For a moment he thinks he might have figured out what is up with Vig when they pose for the press and Viggo reveals his self made propaganda clothes. Karl has always admired Vig for his passion for politics but right now? Viggo rambles away about the war and how wrong it is and still seems so depressed and sad that Karl just wishes for some blissful ignorance for his friend. But he has a nagging feeling that this isn't the heart of the problem anyhow.
All this reminds Karl of the time when they were filming Two Towers, and Sean left for England. They were all but tiptoeing around their leader and for two weeks Astin couldn't be called by his given name because the mere word 'Sean' made Viggo zone out and be distracted for the better part of two hours. Then something shifted, Karl's still not sure what it was and whether it had something to do with PJ's complaint about extraordinarily high phone bills. But after that there was no stopping Viggo. He filled the space that Sean's departure had left by constantly talking about him. While that was getting old pretty quickly it definitely beat the moroseness.
So, Karl tries to nudge Viggo into that direction – he mentions Sean during an interview for some local radio station, he orders some disgusting British food just to ask Vig whether Sean'd like it, and when he gets in bed with Viggo for yet another photo shoot, he jokes that Sean'd better not kick his ass for this.
And Viggo? Doesn't say a word.
They're still in bed after the photographer left and Karl feels slightly weird with his boots under the lily white sheets. He turns to his side and faces Viggo whose eyes are hidden under the rim of his cowboy hat.
"What's up with you, mate?" he finally asks and gives Viggo's hat a little playful nudge with a flick of his fingers.
"Hm," Viggo replies, though this is hardly a reply at all. He doesn't do anything else either, plays possum for all Karl knows. Well, Karl's not having any of that.
"Is something wrong with Sean?" he asks and there's a flicker of emotion – something like a splitsecond of fear – in the way Viggo's body stiffens. "Usually you don't stop talking 'bout him and now?"
When Viggo speaks it's so much of a murmur that Karl has to lean in get it. "All that work; should've maybe talked more to each other a bit more before everything went –" Viggo shrugs.
Karl waits for a second but Viggo apparently is done talking again. "And that's it?" he therefore asks a little incredulously.
"Well," Viggo mutters and pulls that hat further down again because nothing is 'well', "all good things –"
Karl interrupts him by snorting loudly. "That's just bullshit, Vig," he says and shakes his head, "and you know it."
Viggo's eyes fix on his again and fucking hell, Karl had been sure that stubborn and cranky were two looks he'd never see on this man's face. Anger, hurt, melancholy – yes, sure, Karl's pretty certain that Viggo's poet's heart is prone to those. But this doesn't look like it. It looks like one of those schoolyard fights that just end in black eyes and expulsions because both parties were too obstinate to back down. Karl looks at his friend and sighs quietly. Then he steals Viggo's hat and puts it on, getting up. "C'mon cowboy, I know just what to do."
Viggo looks at him warily. "I'm not gonna –" he mutters stubbornly.
"Alcohol," Karl says, "I meant alcohol."
Of course he's lying like a trooper and will get this stupid fuck to clean up this mess eventually. Because Karl is not all that perceptive when it comes to feelings but he sure knows when something needs fixing something desperate.
"Wait, you're in Japan? The fuck are you doing there, Karl? – Listen, have you talked to Vig recently? 'Cause I ran into Sean just now and man, he's a mess. Tired and blotchy eyed and what have you. We got talking over lunch – bloody football Nazi, he is – but not a word about Viggo. Not the usual 'let's see how I can scar Orli for life' shenanigans; nothing. And when I asked 'bout Vig Sean just muttered something about his 'inspiration having been ripped away' or somesuch bollocks. And then he tried to pick a fight with the waiter who was, like, 7 feet tall and looked like a war criminal. Just the thing I need, getting beaten up before filming starts. – Anyway, you got something on Viggo? Stupid geezers start to worry me. If sodding Bean would at least talk to me; that's just so bloody typical... Call me, mate, and give my love to Natalie and Hunter and all that."
V. Harmonia has moved back into the neighborhood. She likes the vicinity; the rent is low because the couple next door is rather vocal in bed.
Orlando's life sucks. Okay, okay, this may be a little harsh. The part of his life where he has a beautiful girlfriend, earns tons of money and has a profession he loves, that part doesn't really suck. But as for the rest of it? The ancient Goddesses of fate amuse themselves by sending spitballs his way. Bitches.
This was supposed to be his weekend off – no more whiney brat-prince who keeps making faces at the world from behind his brother's broad and protective back. He loves playing Paris, he really does, Eric is a big goof and Orlando'd adopt him, brother-like, in a second. But this was supposed to be his free three days, dammit. He made plans and all. Karl related, booze involving, surfing plans. And now – thanks to frigging Brad and his frigging taking-method-acting-to-a-whole-new-leve
He closes his eyes behind his shades but his fingers keep nervously fiddling with the armor of his skirt as Bean talks on and on. And on. Orlando's life sucks. And Sean tells him how wonderful his own is – how much of an inspiration Viggo provides for his sculpting, how much he misses him already, how much he's looking forward to spending more time with him, not just a quick visit on set but some quiet time with a glass of wine and some piano music, and how much he misses him, has he already mentioned that? Orlando's life sucks big dinosaur balls.
Something hot and huge and hand-shaped is pressed against his neck and he jerks awake, turns around. His eyes first catch on his P.A. whose fingers play with the car keys in his hand, then they fix on his visitor.
"Karl, you motherfucker!" he exclaims, maybe a little too loudly, and jumps up. He accidentally gets a little tangled up in the linen of his chair and sends it (and very nearly himself, too) down crashing before he all but stumbles against Karl.
"Whoa," Karl laughs and his arms wrap around Orlando for a splitsecond, then they fly away again as if burned. Well, no 'as if' there because Paris's armor gets really frigging hot in the midday sun. "So, you're too high maintenance to pick up your guests from the airport yourself now?" he asks, ruffling Orlando's hair for lack of other options.
Orlando grins at his P.A. apologetically but the other man just smiles and shrugs and leaves, all in one go.
"His presence is definitely required here," Sean cuts in, irony lacing his words. Because yeah, Orlando had an early call to shoot about two seconds of film before someone messed up the sound and it was all waiting from then on.
"Sorry 'bout this," Orlando says to Karl, meaning the shooting schedule and probably Sean.
Karl, who made a de-tour during his trip through Europe just to see Orlando, merely grins and waves it aside. "No problem, mate. I'll just sit in the shade and watch you guys sweat."
As if on cue, Wolfgang's megaphone breaks the silence (why can't the man send a frigging errand boy? Orlando feels like he's in grammar school again, schoolmaster's loudspeaker announcements and everything) and Orlando is called to set. He shrugs apologetically at Karl but the other man gestures him to get lost already, picks up Orlando's chair and sits down next to Bean.
"So," Orlando hears him say to Sean as Paris's sandals carry him towards the cameras, "how are you?"
And he can't help but smirk when he hears Sean's happy first sentence, "Great! You just missed Viggo and he –"
"Orlando," Wolfgang barks, appearing right in front of him like he has the annoying habit to do, "not that smile, yes? Far too mean." He glares at Orlando and pokes his chest lightly. "You remember you're the lover, not the villain, yes? So, stop that."
So, Orlando spends his supposed-to-be-free Saturday crawling in the hot sand in the vicinity of Eric's huge and slightly sweaty feet. Still, whenever he looks over to his two friends, Sean is talking for the both of them, and Karl just gets to scratch his head every once in a while as his part of the conversation. Then Orlando thinks he has the better end of the deal for once. Sean's probably right in the middle of telling Karl how Viggo used his back to compose a sonnet on it or something.
"I second that with all my heart, Orli."
"Penis sculptures? I mean, really? I reckon we made a big mistake, getting them back together and all. Like, epic big."
"They're gonna force us to come to their exhibition, you know."
"If I have to hear one more word about love and inspiration and creativity and muses I'll kill myself."
"Said the actor and heartthrob."
"Shut it, assface."
"Hey, it's not me you're mad at. It's the love birds. 'I want to drown in your ocean green eyes for they lead to my private paradise'. – They are rather adorable."
"If there only was a patron muse of shutting the fuck up."
"No objections from me."
"Wanna grab some grub now?"
"Hell, yes. – How's your girl by the way?"
"Oh, things are great. She's so gorgeous. – You know when I told you about..."