Original story: Drowning by savageseraph
Pairing: Sean Bean/Viggo
Rating: NC17 for language
Summary: Sean is clueless. He returns to New Zealand to find two unexpected people waiting for him with unexpected (and unwelcome) news.
Pre-reveal Notes: The original fic was an improv fic written in 60 minutes! *salutes savageseraph* The original's aim was to tell a story from the point of view of someone who was neither part of the pairing, nor in love with one or more parts of the pairing. This takes a different point of view, yet is very firmly based in the wonderful and insightful original fic.
Post-reveal Notes: With thanks to savageseraph for making her stories available for re-mixing and to feelforfaith and msilverstar for their patience and for their contributions to this fandom via running the Remix as well as everything else they do.
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 can be so fucking clueless sometimes. Ok, a lot of the time. Clueless comes in handy. People find it endearing, are willing to cut me slack because of it. Now, of course, as you get older people find it rather less endearing, rather less entertaining. But sometimes? Sometimes you need a wake up call. And I got one. Today.
I had the whole day planned. Check in at the apartment, make sure I had everything it takes to make me happy after a terrifyingly long flight - with not even a single stopover, thank you very much. I'm proud to be able to say that I can be brave about the aviation issue when necessary, or when time becomes of the essence. Then straight over to see Viggo. You see, I missed the bastard, and I needed to talk to him about all the shit (good and bad) that had gone down between us. Neither of us had been willing to start the conversation, though I knew it has been bothering him too.
Perfect plan, exceptional execution. Then the Terrible Twosome, Elijah and Orlando, turned up in the wrong place at the worst bloody time. The darling little wankers are impossible to escape from, seeing as how they hate to let any captive audience go without a struggle. All I wanted was to get to Viggo and now there was bound to be a delay. Grand.
I ignored as best I could the niggling inside voice that insisted that I was actually delighted to see their cars in the driveway. I'm a bluff bastard, I know it, but it's true. The Dizzying Duo have their endearing side. They're children, both of them, but there's something going on with each of them. They'll be quite something as men, and they're already rather special as the strange men-children they are now. Still, as I pulled my jeep into the drive it did seem to me that they had not chosen quite the right moment for a social call.
The door into the apartment barely had time to click shut behind me before Elijah burst out of the kitchen. I saw Orlando make an attempt to grab him and miss. Now I was going to get climbed all over. Bloody wanker.
Elijah launched himself at me, his small body wrapping around mine. Bloody monkey-child. Scratch that actually. He's deceptively heavy. Bloody monkey-elephant. I staggered a bit under the weight.
"We're so glad you're back."
Just how many people had they brought with them? Perhaps Viggo too? I glanced towards the kitchen but no, just Orlando standing there twisting a paper bag to a thin rope in his hands. Love the kid but he wasn't who I was most hoping for.
He nodded to me. "Hey, Bean. Good to see ya."
"You too, Elf." I could hear the subdued note in my voice but couldn't seem to sweep it away.
Elijah slid down and landed lightly on the floor. "You're not angry we're here are you?"
"No," I squeezed his shoulder. "Just tired. Feels like I haven't slept in days."
Elijah nodded wisely, muttering, "Of course. Sure." I could feel his eyes on me, assessing. See what I mean? Those two are too bloody observant for their own good, let alone for anyone else's.
I forced a grin that felt all wrong. Elijah grinned back at me but there was something in his expression that told me he knew there was something more than just tiredness causing me to come up short in my reaction to their presence. He's smart enough to tell the difference.
"So what are you two doing here on such a nice day? Wouldn't think Peter would want to waste the light."
I caught Orlando sending a death glare at Elijah. You have to understand that a death glare from the Elf is like being stared at by a particularly soulful red setter but still, he seemed to be doing his best to will Elijah into silence. Clearly the mice had been playing in my absence. Elijah jammed his hands in his pockets and his shoulders slumped. Seemed the play had led to some kind of trouble.
"Come on," I said, feeling real amusement from seeing Elijah go from elated to guilty so quickly. "What did you do?"
Elijah looked up. "Us? It wasn't us, honest."
"Right." I nodded in what I hoped was a suitably doubting fashion. Elijah seemed to go pale under my gaze and Orlando gave the paper another twist in his hands.
"It wasn't. It was Viggo." At that Orlando was forward, elbowing Elijah so hard he yelped and shoved back, "That hurt, you prick."
"Viggo?" I knew Elijah could be telling the truth here. Viggo was capable of supreme bullshit when he was bored, or simply moved to undertake a particularly brilliant practical joke. However I also knew Viggo was exhausted. When we spoke, which wasn't often, wasn't enough, but when we did... he was sometimes incoherent with tiredness. "What did Vig do?"
Elijah shrugged, muttered something about getting me some tea, and then retreated into the kitchen. My brain, clearly still somewhere over Europe from how slowly it seemed to be moving, started to catch up. There was clearly a problem here and Elijah had just gone to make tea? I wanted to murder him. Only something slow and painful would do.
"Orlando." The full force of my gaze fell on Orlando. The play was gone from my voice, the tiredness too, leaving nothing but brittle and sharp edges to my tone.
Orlando looked straight back at me. He didn't quail at all and trust me, I've seen hardened blokes practically piss themselves when I look as edgy as I'm sure I looked at that moment. He took a deep breath, let it out. "He almost died, Sean."
The last remnants of my smile evaporated. "What did you say?"
"He almost died." Orlando swallowed as though on dry bread crumbs, licked his lips before continuing. "There was this scene, where Aragorn falls unconscious into the river. They were filming him floating downstream. A current pulled him under. He nearly drowned."
He closed the last steps between us and grasped my arms. He was shaking, or I was, I'm not sure Maybe both of us were.
"I saw it, Bean. Saw him go under. And I kept waiting and he didn't come up and it seemed like such a long time and...."
Orlando has a severe case of the hero-worships for Viggo. He gives every impression of believing that Viggo could stop an earthquake, halt a tidal wave, cure cancer and still be home in time to cook Henry a nutritious dinner if he put his mind to it. This is probably one reason why I like Orlando as much as I do. I rather believe the same of Viggo too.
I can't imagine how he must have felt seeing Viggo go under, not come up.... Jesus. Not come up?! This thought sent chills through me and I shook him to get him to stop his babble. "Where is he now?"
"Dunno. Maybe at home. Maybe."
I didn't hear any more before I was out the door. I ran back to the jeep, fumbling as I pressed my fingers tight against the corners of my eyes to stop the tears that already wet my lashes and threatened to spill. The tears I wouldn't let either of them, or anyone, see. I shivered as I imagined them flowing back into me, into my lungs. Drowning. It hurt so damned much just to breathe.
Tires squealed as I pulled out of the drive. I tried to get a grip so I could drive safely. Why had no one called me? Why hadn't Viggo damn well called me? But if it was today? Then there had been no time and that could have been it and I wouldn't have been there and he wouldn't have known. Wouldn't have known that I loved him, at least as much as he loved me. Or at least as much as I thought he might.
Then I knew. Knew it had been three days ago. Must have been. Knew it because Viggo had phoned me. It was the call that made me get it together about talking to him about... us. He had called, sounded as exhausted as ever. He ha barely said a word to me. Just asked me to talk to him. Asked me to tell him about the girls and what we'd been up to and I'd asked him if he was alright.
"Fine, just want to hear about life outside the Rings bubble. Come on Sean, tell me about some real life."
So I had. Nattered about taking the kids to the beach as a treat prior to my flying back to production. Told him how they'd won the ugliest china dogs in Britain at beach bingo. Blethered on about how it had taken me two hours to get the sand out of the car's carpet. Pondered why it was Brits insisted on going to the beach even if it was blowing a gale and freezing as it was that day. Considered why it was still a brilliant day regardless of hideous ornaments and blue toes.
He never really said anything back. Just huffed a laugh or hummed an agreement, or encouragement to keep me speaking. I spoke to him until he sounded as though he might be about to drop right off to the Land of
Nod. Then I told him to get some rest and that I'd see him in a few days. I may have called him an over-working wanker. Fucking hell.
He'd needed me, called me, and not been able to talk to me about what had happened. Had kept me in the dark.
So. Fucking. Clueless.
Both of us. Clueless.
And it's not endearing at all, now I come to think about it properly. I don't want to be cut any slack by the man I love. I don't want to be kept in the dark. I want to know when he hurts, when he nearly fucking dies goddamn it. We're too old to be prevaricating and dissembling and hiding things.
Sometimes you need a wake up call, and today I got one. And when I get to Viggo's house he's getting one too. I'm going to strip him naked, check over every inch and when I know he's okay, when I know he can take it, I'm going to push him onto his bed and show him exactly how I feel about him.
After that, when he's fucked out, panting and slick all over with sex-induced sweat I'm going to tell him. I'm going to tell him exactly how much I love him and he is going to listen to me, hear me and finally, I hope, he'll know me and who he is to me.
So. Fucking. Clueless. Both of us. But not any more. Never again.