Title: A Bird in the Hand
Original Story: Leavings, Fragments, Balancing by feelforfaith
Summary: love the one you're with
Disclaimer: The author makes no claims or inferences to reality or truthfulness. Moreover, this story is based upon the work of another author and recognises their creation.
Dom was split down the middle.
In front of him, Viggo's dim hallway stretched toward a golden spill of light from the living room, light that echoed the blast of the furnace. At the end of the hallway the stairs ascended into the dark. The heat seemed to pool around Viggo, who stared at Dom with flat blue eyes.
Behind him, his arse was still half-frozen from the unexpected cold snap. It hadn't been the wisest decision to walk all the way from Orli's, but Dom was having one of those days where wisdom didn't quite factor in.
"I'm not going to regret it," Dom offered, though in truth some part of him already did.
"That's not what I'm thinking," Viggo replied, but Dom couldn't tell what Viggo's thinking, he never could. Still, there was something around the corners of Viggo's eyes that looked a little like regret. It takes one to know one. A trick of the light, perhaps.
Dom opened his mouth to push a little, to go forward from this knife-edge, when Viggo raised his head from where he'd leaned it against the door.
"Why me? Why not Orlando?" The words sounded tired to Dom. "I'm sure he would be glad to add another notch to his bed post. A virgin, at that."
"I don't want it to get all awkward tomorrow," Dom blurted out, and that was no less than the truth.
Viggo snorted, a barely perceptible sound that was nonetheless full of derision. "And you don't think it'll get awkward between us?"
"No." Dom wasn't sure why he was so certain of this, but he was. Nothing to it; just a quick shag. Viggo had shagged a couple of cast members, Dom knew, and there were never any thick silences after -- just genial flirting and business as usual. No reason for this to be any different.
Viggo stepped in closer and trailed a slow finger down Dom's cheek. Dom felt Viggo's eyes trying to pin him, but he focused instead on the faded blue of Viggo's Janis Joplin t-shirt. He could smell Viggo now, sweat and something herbal -- dusty tea.
"Let's do it, then," Viggo said, and before Dom could reply, Viggo was halfway up the stairs. Let's not, Dom thought, which was patently ridiculous since this was his bloody idea, but it didn't stop Dom from turning back to the front door. Still time to walk away from this.
"Are you coming?" Viggo's voice was soft, close in like birds, and Dom felt his hand slide away from the smooth brass doorknob.
"Well, so much for grilling," Dom said with a sigh as he looked through the sliding glass door at the wind whipping leaves and icy rain over Orli's patio and the forlorn black grill.
Orli shrugged in that peculiarly graceful way he had that made Dom suspect French ancestry somewhere down the line. "The news said the rain should stop soon."
"Still cold as fuck," Dom replied. "I thought we'd have a longer Indian Summer."
"It'll probably be right back to nice and warm next week," Orli said, and he took a long pull on his beer. Dom's stomach clenched at the sight of Orli's lips curled around the smooth glass, and he thought that, at least inside, warmth wasn't a problem.
Orli settled himself on the enormous sofa while Dom resorted to digging through Orli's cabinets in search of a glass baking pan. If grilled tempeh was not to be, then Tempeh Parmigiana would make an acceptable substitute. Other than calling out occasional directions, Orli made no move to help, but Dom didn't mind. The first night he'd come over to cook dinner for Orli, Dom had made the mistake of asking Orli to prepare a side dish. One go-round with overcooked, glutinous tofu noodles was enough for Dom.
Dom had never intended for this to become a regular Thursday thing, but he hadn't intended on falling in love with Orli, either.
So much for intentions.
Now that he was lying, naked and vulnerable, on Viggo's sheets (clearly in need of a wash), Dom couldn't make his brain stop turning like a hamster wheel. This was not the time for it -- Viggo was lying naked beside him, and things were about to commence, and a loss of virginity should be momentous, or something, but this just isn't what Dom had pictured, exactly.
"Are you done yet?" Viggo looked at Dom as if he could hear Dom's thoughts, and for a terrifying moment, Dom thought he really could.
"Aren't you supposed to say something like 'Don't worry, baby, I'll make it good for you'?"
Viggo leaned over Dom. "You must've been watching the wrong kind of porn."
Before Dom could respond, Viggo moved to pin him with a kiss. Suddenly all traces of the weary, slow-moving Viggo were gone, and instead there was a heated mélange of tongues and teeth. Dom felt his body pulse, the thick longing for touch starting to uncurl under the rough brush of Viggo's hands. As quickly as the onslaught began, it stopped, and Viggo pulled away. Dom's eyes flew open to see Viggo leaning halfway off the bed, fumbling around under the bedside table and finally rolling back up with lube in hand.
"Get on your side," Viggo said abruptly, already coating his fingers with the shiny slickness, and Dom complied, looking back nervously over his shoulder.
"It'll be easier this way," Viggo said.
"Easier for who?"
"For both of us. Pull your knees up." Viggo arranged Dom's legs to his satisfaction. "That's good."
Dom folded his arm and rested his cheek on his open palm. He clutched his other arm to his chest, hugging himself. Waited. He didn't look back over his shoulder again.
Standing in the shower afterward, Dom closed his eyes against the scalding needles and buried his face in the spray. There was a giant bar of some sort of organic soap, rough with oatmeal bits, and Dom grabbed it from the holder and scrubbed himself top to bottom with it. The lather stung when it trailed down the crack of his ass, and Dom remembered the feel of Viggo pushing thick fingers inside him, first one, then another. And then Viggo's cock, thickly blunt and feeling like a redwood as it burned and stretched and, finally, fit.
They'd fit, and the pain had turned into heat, and for a few minutes, the world had been nothing but the sweaty slap of Viggo fucking him. It hadn't felt like what he'd imagined, but in some ways it had been even better. Deliciously wrong somehow, and no goddamn strings. No reason he shouldn't have, and no reason he shouldn't do it again.
No reason at all, Dom thought, and then the water went cold. He stayed under it.
Dishes loaded in the dishwasher, Dom sat down next to Orli on the couch. He felt pleasantly fuzzy from two glasses of merlot, but that was all the liquid courage he wanted to have. Better to remember everything when you finally make your move.
On the TV, an old horror film was playing, something with radioactive spiders, and that was fine with Dom, because Orli flopped against him contentedly in mock-fear. Those same radioactive spiders crawled underneath Dom's skin in the places where Orli was touching him. Tentatively at first, banishing all the bad teen-dating clichés from his thoughts, Dom worked his arm around Orli's shoulders.
For a moment, Orli let Dom's arm lie. Then Orli tensed, shifted under the weight in a seamless wriggle that popped his head out from underneath.
"Want me to go make some popcorn?" Orli said, and his smile was overbright.
"Yeah, sure," Dom replied, and reached across the coffee table to pour himself another glass of wine.
Standing wet and naked back in Viggo's bedroom, Dom wished he had brought some clean clothes, but he hadn't exactly thought that far ahead when he started walking toward Viggo's. He didn't want to ask Viggo to borrow any, and Viggo didn't offer, just regarded him from his spot ensconced under the blankets. Dom supposed that sleeping naked didn't much matter, considering he'd just insisted Viggo fuck him.
He dropped the towel on the floor -- a small meanness -- and went around the other side of the bed to crawl under the covers as well. They were rather thin, but should be enough, given how high Viggo still had the heat going.
"Do you want the light off?" Viggo asked.
Darkness descended between them with the flick of the switch, a sweltering darkness that still didn't warm Dom up. He looked up, unseeing, at the black ceiling, wondering if Viggo was going to try to cross the no-mans-land between them. He hoped not.
The silence was awkward. Finally, Dom spoke.
"Orlando said that you hog the covers in bed. Do you hog the covers, Viggo?"
"Orlando has a big mouth," Viggo replied.
"Not going to argue about that," Dom said, and turned towards the wall, pulling the covers with him.
In the morning Dom awoke to an empty bed and the scent of frying eggs and coffee. The night seemed like a surreal fever-dream -- dinner with Orli, the small (but real) brush-off, and then Elijah's call, and the way Orli had sat up on the couch a little straighter, eager and happy, and the decision to just cut on out before Elijah arrived. Dom rubbed his face, not sure how the miscues had wound up with him on Viggo's doorstep, but there it was.
And he'd been right. He hadn't known that Orli had slept with Viggo, not for sure. Not until he'd asked about the covers.
But he'd suspected, and now he'd joined the club.
Lacking any other wardrobe options, Dom gathered his rumpled clothes from Viggo's floor and dressed quickly. He padded downstairs to find his suspicions confirmed -- Viggo had cooked breakfast, and set two places. So much for a quick escape. It would be rude, and besides, Dom's stomach growled in approval at the sight of the cheerful yellow eggs.
"Smells great," Dom said, and meant it.
They split the paper, and Dom was grateful for the camouflage. He remembered to smile from time to time when Viggo offered him more coffee, but his mind was already somewhere else.
After the breakfast was duly consumed, Viggo stood and began to stack the dishes in the sink. Dom upended his second cup of coffee and felt the caffeine buzz start to jangle him properly awake.
"What are you doing today?" Viggo asked.
"Orli wanted to go check out Breaker Bay. He thinks he's ready to surf there." Dom was not sure that was such a great idea -- one, it was still fucking cold, and wetsuit surfing was not Dom's preferred method. Two, Orli needed to do quite a bit of work before he hit the big breaks.
And three -- well, there was the prospect of facing Orli today. "What time is it?" Dom asked, and then caught the red digital display on the microwave in answer. "I'd better be going."
"Okay," Viggo said. "And don't let him do something . . ." Viggo waved his hand in a particularly Gallic gesture that reminded Dom of Orli's shrugs.
"Too stupid? Don't worry. I'll keep an eye on him." Dom stood. "Thanks for breakfast. I'll see you tomorrow?"
It was nearly a week later when Dom caught Viggo in the studio parking lot.
"Hey," Dom said, and he tried to smile. He was tired, tired right down to his bones.
"Can you give me a lift?"
"Sure. Get in."
Short and sweet, just what Dom was looking for. He was not in the mood for lengthy conversation at this point. Talking to himself all week had worn him out. He closed his eyes and leaned his head back against the seat.
"Home?" Viggo asked, starting the car.
Dom nodded. "Your place."
For a moment Dom wasn't sure if Viggo was going to say no. His eyes were still closed, but he thought he could hear the way Viggo turned to look at him, surprised. "You want to come over?"
"If that's okay with you?"
"Yes. Yes, of course."
They pulled out of the parking lot and onto the main highway without further ado. The motion of the car was lulling Dom to sleep, and he shifted, trying to get comfortable. Viggo suggested some Mexican food, but Dom nixed that idea. Food hadn't held any appeal, not since he'd gone surfing with Orli only to have Elijah show up, again, and Dom had watched as they flirted and laughed through the tumbles into the chill waves.
Watched as they had kissed, third-man-out while Orli and Elijah tried to re-enact the beach scene straight out of From Here to Eternity.
"Is everything okay?" Viggo's voice penetrated the miserable memory.
Dom shrugged. "Everything's fine," he said. "I could use a drink."
They rode the rest of the way in silence. Once inside Viggo went straight to the kitchen and retrieved a half-empty bottle of Absolut from the freezer. Dom preferred Stolichnaya, but any port in a storm. He accepted the glass tumbler that Viggo handed him and knocked back the shot. The burn was ice and fire at once, and made Dom think of the last time he'd been at Viggo's.
Viggo poured another round, more generous this time. Three fingers, Dom thought, and felt the heat blaze into his cheeks.
Do you want to get me pissed?" Dom asked.
"What if I do?" Viggo had that same flat look he had the last time, too, and Dom thought randomly that Viggo must kick ass at poker.
"You don't need to. I'm easy anyway."
The slightest hint of a smile creased the corners of Viggo's eyes. "Drink it up."
Dom took another gulp that caught his breath. Viggo was standing close, so close, and it wasn't hard to slide his hand up underneath Viggo's shirt to rub the skin of his belly. Viggo covered Dom's hand, trapping it under the fabric. "Dom, why are you here?"
"What answer do you want to hear?"
"How about the truth?"
The truth wasn't simple, and in Dom's experience, never easy. So he approached it obliquely.
"Are you still sleeping with Orlando?" Dom asked, putting his left hand under Viggo's shirt too. His hands rested together as if folded in prayer.
"Why didn't you ask him?" The smile slid from Viggo's eyes, and what replaced it was flinty, and not a little cruel.
"I wanted to ask you. So, are you?"
"No," Viggo said.
"Why not?" Dom pulled his hands from under Viggo's shirt and walked backward, stripping off his t-shirt and falling onto the sofa. He looked up at Viggo, Viggo standing there looking unfairly hot in his don't-give-a-fuck ratty clothes, and wondered what had happened. Viggo had fucked Orli. Viggo had fucked him. Why wouldn't he still be fucking Orli? Dom thought, given the choice, he'd damn sure be fucking Orli instead of himself. "Why not?"
"Do you really want to talk about Orlando?" Viggo asked.
"I don't want to talk at all."
"I should take you home," Viggo said, but even through the coalescing vodka haze, Dom could hear the empty platitude of the statement..
"You don't want to take me home."
Viggo held Dom's gaze and shook his head. "No."
When Viggo touched his thumb to Dom's lips, Dom took it in.
The next morning, Dom woke up in Viggo's bed again. This time, however, he wasn't sore, except for his head. Vague memories of Viggo tucking a blanket around him on the sofa, and later of crawling into bed beside Viggo, scrolled behind his eyes. Viggo was still asleep, and Dom noted absently that they had been facing each other. In sleep Viggo looked different -- younger, certainly, less jaded somehow.
Dom let himself out, careful to shut the door quietly.
Two weeks later, no one was more surprised than Dom when Viggo asked Dom along on a camping trip that had been planned originally as a jaunt for Viggo and Orli. Of course Orli bowed out, sneezing his fool head off, and Dom made a mental note to tell Orli that his acting still needed work. He supposed that Orli knew the lay of the land by now.
The drive up north -- to nowhere in particular, a wilderness area said to be good for photographs -- took longer than Dom had thought it would, but he found he didn't mind. The scenery was New Zealand lovely, high country cottonwood scrub and grass tussocks, and the music on the CD player was fine. Little darling, I feel that ice is slowly melting... little darling, it seems like years since it's been clear. Dom sang along with gusto, and the promised warmer weather was a soft balm through the open window.
By the time the tent was pitched and several foil-jacketed potatoes were cooking in glowing embers of the fire, Dom was feeling more at peace than he had been since this whole thing started.
"Don't be so impatient. You have to give them enough time," Viggo said when Dom nearly burnt his fingers fiddling with the potatoes.
Dom grabbed a stick and used that to nudge the scalding packets instead. "How much longer?"
"As much as they need."
Some time later, it started to rain, and Dom found himself crawling into the zipped-together sleeping bags with Viggo. The temperature was dropping, but between the nylon and the lofting their combined body heat produced a nice little cave. Dom thought again of the heat in Viggo's house, of the blankets freely offered. Of other things, offered as well.
Viggo reached for him in the silence, and Dom went willingly into the curl of his neck, but a new idea made his pulse skip. He breathed it against Viggo's ear, uncertain at first if the pounding rain had drowned him out.
"I want to be on top."
Seconds ticked by, and just when Dom was about to pull away, Viggo replied.
A hurried battle with sweatpants ensued, and then Viggo pulled Dom in close. It was dark, but there was just enough light from the candle lantern for Dom to see Viggo's face. To see his eyes, pupils gone blackwide and open.
"Like this," Viggo said.
"Yeah, like this," Dom said, and took the lube from Viggo's hand.
They fucked like that, face to face, and Dom never looked away from Viggo's not-brown eyes.
Back on the set, the open secret lost the last shreds of pretense, and Dom gamely accepted the good-natured ribbing. Even Orli clapped him on the back and congratulated him, though Dom thought perhaps it was a bit forced.
It was strange, the first time Dom had Viggo over to his place. He realized he had been thinking of Viggo as somewhere separate from home. At the grocery store Dom grabbed the makings for vegetable kabobs and, as an afterthought, threw a pink toothbrush into the cart. He thought Viggo would get the joke.
In the kitchen, Dom began to prep the vegetables, chopping bright green zucchini at warp speed while Viggo started out towards the patio to get the grill heated. The knife's quick motion stopped dead, however, when Dom felt Viggo press against him, thick bulge against his ass. Felt a quick kiss that Viggo dropped on the back of his neck.
The zucchini never made it off the cutting board.
Later, they curled together in Dom's bed, spooned tightly. They still had not discussed whatever this was, and Dom wasn't sure it really mattered anymore. He stretched his foot out to rub against Viggo's.
"I like this," Dom said, and when he did, it was only partially to convince himself. "I like having this with you."
Viggo pressed close, breathed deeply against Dom's neck. "I like it, too."
Maybe, Dom thought, just maybe -- that would be enough.