Author: Cesare (almostnever)
Original story: Reading The Script by trianne.
Rating: PG13 for innuendo & implied sex.
Summary: Elijah considers several screenplays. Dominic has a unique way of helping him decide.
Warnings: No obvious warnings needed.
Post-reveal Notes: Thanks to Kanata/Kyuuketsukirui for spelling/grammar check!
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.
A young man, delicately framed and with an air of vulnerability, sits in a street cafe in Paris. He sips coffee from a small cup, reading a newspaper headlined DALADIER SIGNS MUNICH AGREEMENT: Sudetenland ceded to Germany.
A man sidles up to the table and takes a seat. He is a bit older and much more experienced than our hero, with obvious street smarts, cutting a rather dashing figure in a smart suit and tie.
"I think you're embellishing a little," the young man murmurs around the rim of his coffee cup.
"Hush, I'm being helpful," says the handsome, dashing fellow. He orders coffee from the surly waiter and then addresses the young man sotto voce. "Elijah Wood?"
"It's Emilio, actually -"
"Tch, I said I'd run lines with you, I didn't say they'd necessarily be these exact lines here on the page. Any road, I am codename D, and I'm here to give you your instructions. Listen very carefully... you must follow me at once."
"I don't remember a scene change at this part," the young hero says, but he gamely stands and walks alongside his new companion.
No sooner are they out of sight from the common throng than D turns on the young man, his hand tight against Elijah's neck, a concealed sidearm prodding at Elijah's hip.
"I thought you were just happy to see me," smirks Elijah.
"Schnauze!" says D. "You are caught, Herr Wood."
"Drop this farce. I'm well aware of your true identity, Elijah Wood. You are no expatriate student - you are a spy, recruited by American intelligence since your early days as a childhood vaudeville actor."
"Wow, you really thought this out! I don't think my character has half that much backstory in the actual script."
"That's why the script is rubbish," says D, "and I'll tie you to the bedposts if you don't turn it down and bin it at once."
"Well... I'll think about it. I can't believe you're casting yourself as a Nazi, though. Gross."
"I'll turn out to be a double agent for Britain in the third act, of course."
"Oh! Okay then. Cool."
"But for now," D says silkily, pressing against his young captive as Elijah gasps, "you had better cooperate, Herr Wood. We have ways of making you talk."
Edward Winchester places the last of his family tintypes on the chest of drawers in his new room in the dormitories of Harvard. Natty in his waistcoat and shirtsleeves, he loosens his cravat and sinks to sit on his bunk.
Casting his gaze to the firmly shut door, he reaches into the bottom drawer and from under neatly folded undergarments, slides out a copy of Teleny.
"What's this?" he muses aloud. A ruffle of its pages reveals that it's an erotic gay novel by Oscar Wilde. "He wrote porn? Wow. Was this even published yet?"
Since the lovely young fellow can't seem to stop rabbiting on to himself, enter his roommate, stage left. At once, Elijah -
Whatever; Elijah startles and attempts to shove the book back into its hiding place, but succeeds only in dropping it on the floor, where his new roommate cannot help but see it plainly.
A gorgeous blush rising in his face, Elijah stammers an explanation.
"What explanation? You're so far off the script now, I have no idea what to say!"
In the face of Elijah's nonsensical stuttering, his roommate kneels gracefully to retrieve the volume. He places it discreetly in its intended drawer. "There, all shut away, never fear. Though you needn't worry about hiding such a thing from me, if you take my meaning," he says in a low and sultry tone. "I'm Dominic. You must be Elijah."
"I must be Edward, since that's what it says in the script."
"It's so good to meet you, Elijah," says Dominic, still on bended knee at Elijah's feet. "I understand you're a painter... so am I. If you like, I could model for you, and in return, you could model for me." His hands steal to the buttons of Elijah's snowy white shirt. "Shall we start now?"
"You know, if you'd just flipped ahead, we could have done the scene that closes out act two. This is pretty much what happens, once they get to know each other a little."
"Familiarity is so overrated," says Dominic. "The risk, the rush of the new, look how it's fleshing out your... inspiration." His lips graze the newly revealed skin beneath Elijah's collar, the sensitive hollow of his throat, as Elijah trembles and barely holds himself back from yielding to the touch as he so badly wants to do.
"The lure of the forbidden, like that book of yours, hidden away," Dominic says softly, "it's all the more exciting for it, isn't it? To carry such a secret, and feel it slowly, slowly, being revealed... exposed... grasped..."
"I gotta admit," Elijah says breathlessly, "that's better dialogue than Edward's lover really gets during the seduction scene."
"Nearly anything would be," Dominic agrees, his mouth chasing down Elijah's chest. "That's why you just can't take this job. Much as I'd love to see you kitted out in Victorian gear, not to mention doing a queer role... this isn't the project for it."
"Sure it doesn't have anything to do with being jealous of me making out with some other guy on camera?"
Dominic pauses momentarily, eyes flicking up. He resumes kissing, his fingers busy on the buttons of Elijah's trousers. "'Course not."
"I dunno if I believe you..." Elijah lies back, eyes sliding shut. "I think you should keep trying to convince me. You know, lure me with the forbidden some more. Oh, God, yeah-- like that."
Stumbling outside his father's hospital room, Ethan Willoughby sucks down a deep breath and presses his fingers firmly to his eyes. Setting his shoulders back, he tells the rodeo manager, "Don't give away Dad's spot in the rodeo. I'll ride in his place."
"There's only one way a tyro like you could draw the kind of crowd your Daddy brings in," says the manager. "You willing, boy?"
Ethan clenches his jaw with determination and slowly nods. "I am."
The manager promptly drools all down his shirtfront, watching Ethan saunter away.
At the stables, though, young Willoughby isn't quite so sanguine. "How the hell am I gonna do this, Millie?" he asks his beloved young mare.
"With style. But you're going to need a bit of help, Elijah," a voice interrupts. The silhouette of a well-built young man leans in the stable doorway.
"It's Ethan, actually."
"Well, I'm a rough riding maverick cowboy who doesn't play by anyone's rules," answers the stranger, "so I'm calling you Elijah."
"Whoever heard of a cowboy with an English accent?" demands Elijah. "Also, the character you're reading is supposed to be in his sixties."
Dom eases into the pool of lamplight around Elijah. Tight jeans hug his strong thighs and a white tank top stretches across his chest; he tilts back his cowboy hat and gives Elijah a careless smile. "He couldn't make it, so he sent me instead. I'm his grandson from across the pond. Name's Dom. Nice to meet you."
"It's no more contrived than anything else in this idiotic screenplay," Dom replies. "Whoever heard of a nude rodeo? Mind you," he shrugs, "I'd be more inclined to watch that than the garden-variety sort. And what's this your character's dad is meant to be dying of? Knee cancer?"
"It's, I don't know, some kind of bone cancer. He lives but only after they like, amputate his kneecap or something."
"If that's all it takes to sort it out, why does your character spend nearly the entire film believing his dad's going to die? Meanwhile, it's going along as a half-arsed tearjerker, and then for half the last act you're stark bollock naked on back of a horse. Kills the mood a bit, don't you think? And worse, can you imagine the chafing you'd be in for?"
"I don't know, Dom," Elijah says, "I mean, I'd call for a rewrite if I took it. There's just something about the cowboy thing that kind of works for me."
Dom looks him up and down. "Suppose it does at that. But honestly, Lijah, if you want to get naked and ride something..." He hooks his thumbs into the belt loops of his jeans and leans back invitingly.
"Yeah?" Elijah moves a little closer. "Something on all fours, even?"
"I suppose that's a possibility," says Dom, "if you take a bit more care than you did the last time. You know, when you, erm, saddle up."
"Awesome," says Elijah. "Okay, I promise I'll throw out the screenplay. Let's go. And don't take off the hat."
Consulting the age-yellowed pages of a small leatherbound journal, Ernest Wimple forces himself to relax and gazes at himself in the mirror, smoothing his hand down the front of his translucent black shirt and shimmying uncomfortably in his tight, tight pants.
"Okay. You can do this," he tells his reflection. "Grampa Ricardo wrote down everything he knew. It's all right here. You've learned every word."
He presses the journal to his chest for a moment and then tucks it carefully away in a nearby stack of books, safe in this small secret room in the Padstowe Flats Municipal Library.
"First things first," he says to the mirror. "No one makes passes at guys who wear glasses," and he slips off the thick black frames, setting them carefully aside. "Now," he continues, squinting a little, "all you have to do is pay attention when people talk. Gaze into their eyes. Take interest in everything they say. Let people think they're charming you. Before you know it, they'll all want to be with you. It's a self-fulfilling prophecy. There's no way you can screw this up. Even if you walk right out that door and run into the hottest ticket in town, you'll be fine, because you know what to do."
Resolved, he spins and marches to the door, flinging it open and charging into the back hallway of the library-- and straight into the hottest ticket in town, falling flat on his arse in the process.
"Hiya," says the other guy, offering his hand.
"Hello," Ernest says, rising. "Sorry about that. You just moved here, didn't you? I'm--"
"You're Elijah, I know," the fellow says, still clasping his hand. "Pleasure to meet you. I'm Dominic."
"No, I'm Ernest and you're Jenny."
"Do I look like a Jenny?" Dominic asks. "Even if I were a girl, I like to think I'd have a name with a bit more style. You know, like Athena, or Eva, or Lenore."
"Dom, why do you even offer to run lines with me when all you ever want to do is change the script?"
"I wouldn't have to do," replies Dom, "if you ever considered any scripts that weren't rubbish!"
"I think this could be a fun romantic comedy," Elijah says stubbornly.
"Lijah, honestly, I've seen porn films with more coherent narrative logic. This entire screenplay is just an excuse to tart you up in tatty little outfits and have you make out with a parade of random people."
"And your objection has nothing to do with being jealous."
Dominic folds his arms. "I suppose it would be nice if I were offered a few more leading roles, but if it means swimming through piles of horrible screenplays like this one, that's nothing much to be jealous of, if you ask me."
"You know that's not what I mean," says Elijah.
"Fine," Dom snaps. "Maybe I would be jealous, a bit. But I could cope it out if I could tell myself it's for a good role, something that would advance your career or let you stretch as an actor. This," Dom flaps the screenplay in disgust, "this is just wankery!"
"You're pretty hot when you're jealous," says Elijah.
"You did that on purpose," Dom realizes. "Lijah! Honestly!"
Elijah chortles, planting a kiss on his cheek. "Maybe a little."
"Well, that's enough of that," Dom says, throwing the screenplay aside. "I can't read another word of this twaddle."
"But I even dressed the part," Elijah pouts, indicating his see-through shirt.
"Don't worry," Dom says, slipping his arm around Elijah's narrow waist. "I won't let the effort go to waste."
Deep in the wilds of colonial Virginia, Enoch Wyke enters a dark cabin. The last of the twilight gleams in through the window, adding to the meager glow of the oil lamp that illuminates an old lady working at a spinning wheel.
As Enoch approaches, she looks up, seemingly unconcerned that he's in modern dress. He nears the old crone and touches her shoulder gently. All at once, she vaults to her feet, a carving knife flashing in her hand. She slashes at him brutally and as he ducks the blow, Enoch stumbles backward, falling over the body of another young man in Redcoat uniform, eyes staring sightlessly. The old lady slowly removes her head to reveal -
"Elijah!" Dominic cries. "You can't be serious! Traveling back in time to fight aliens in the Revolutionary War era?"
"I thought it was imaginative," says Elijah innocently.
Too innocently. Dominic glares at the screenplay in his hands. "Colonials from Quadrant X? Even you wouldn't seriously consider something as ludicrous as this."
"Sure I would!" Elijah says. "I mean, aliens... time travel... it sounds like lots of fun!"
"It sounds like exactly the sort of empty-headed, high-concept bollocks that you've always hated. There isn't a chance in the world that you're really thinking of doing this film. What's really going on here?"
Elijah peers at Dom through his long, long lashes, his pink mouth pursed alluringly. With an effort, Dom ignores the temptation, and after a moment, Elijah gives in. "Maybe I just thought it would be fun to do some lines together. You know, keep ourselves in practice while we're between projects."
"Maybe you did," Dom agrees, "or maybe not, eh? Come on, out with it."
"Fine," Elijah sulks. "I guess it's just that I noticed that you can get really, you know, passionate when you're trying to talk me out of something."
A bit wounded, Dom says, "I'm always passionate."
"Okay, true," Elijah concedes, "but - when you try to persuade me, you know, it's kind of - it's nice. Though if it's supposed to discourage me from considering these stupid scripts, it's kinda not working."
Dominic draws Elijah near, kissing him gently. "If you ever want to do something special... dress up, like, or top me, or get tied up, anything at all... you know you only have to ask, yeah?"
Elijah perks up. "Really?"
"Of course. I thought you knew that." And Dominic leans in for a kiss so deep and devastating that for a moment he forgets his own name: is it Enoch? Ethan? Edward?
"Elijah," Dom breathes. He throws the script across the room and they fall together onto the bed.
"Wait," says Elijah. "Let me make some room," and he shoves the teetering stack of rejected scripts out of their way to slither onto the floor. "I'll throw them out tomorrow."
"Good riddance," says Dom hotly against Elijah's neck.
"Yeah," Elijah agrees, carding his hand through Dom's hair and arching up to meet his mouth, "I think I like it best when we write our own lines."