Title: The Chronicles of New Zealand
Rating: NC 17 (for series)
Summary: Elijah Wood and Dominic Monaghan meet in New Zealand and fall in love during filming "The Lord of the Rings". As their relationship develops the problems and obstacles increase, but of course nothing stands in the way of true love.
Author's note: This work is pure and utter fiction and the product of my vivid imagination. Special thanks to my lovely beta spikessweetgirl.
Word count: 5032
Sean sat back in the armchair and lifted the beer bottle in his hand up to his lips. Small, cool water droplets were sliding down the neck of the bottle and he absentmindedly smoothed down the slightly crumpled label. Taking a sip of his drink, he narrowed his eyes as he watched Dominic and Billy sit on the floor in front of the TV. Both of them were eagerly fidgeting with their control pads and staring at the screen like some invisible force was pulling them in. Sean was surprised that their eyes weren’t ruined yet. Elijah’s eyesight couldn’t have become any more damaged, but even he didn’t use to be so glued to the TV when he was playing video games. Unlike the other boys, Sean had never gotten this Playstation fascination. He preferred reading books or just spending time with his wife and his daughter. Lowering the bottle and resting it on his thigh, he propped his elbow on the armrest of his seat and leaned his head upon his hand.
Almost a month had passed since his conversation with Elijah in the backyard of the Millennium Hotel in Queenstown during the fancy Hollywood Ball. Sean remembered Elijah’s words vividly and he was glad that they had been able to rebuild their friendship. As well as they could, that is. Just mingling with the others was still a problem. After leaving the feet trailer like that four days before, Sean had refused to think about it any further. He knew his behavior back then had probably been ridiculous and he had noticed Billy’s questioning glances throughout the day on set. The third and last take of the Goddamn Grey Havens. And he had been convinced that he had fucked up once more. Because of him they had to repeat the scene and go through the emotional torment again. He could still slap himself for being so unprofessional. Elijah never would have been so unprofessional. In fact, Sean doubted Elijah even knew the meaning of that word. He was nothing short of a pro, always, and it was only one of the things Sean admired about him. And the last thing he wanted was to screw it up between them again.
“Rise and shine, Seanwise!”
Sean was suddenly ripped out of his thoughts as Orlando flopped down on the armrest of his seat and leaned heavily against him. The beer bottle almost slipped out of Sean’s grip and he raised it up.
“Thanks, Orli. I almost ruined the rug,” he remarked, but couldn’t help but chuckle.
“They almost ruined your rug, Billy,” Dominic gasped without looking away from the TV as he was in the midst of slashing his way through the Trade Federation Battleship, struggling to lose Billy’s Jedi Master. “Your beautiful rug, Dude.”
Billy lowered the pitch of his voice and put on his best American accent. “That rug really ties the room together, doesn’t it?”
The only one who wasn’t laughing was Orlando.
“Did I miss anything?”
“What, you don’t know the Dude?” Dominic grinned. “You can also call him His Dudeness, or Dude, or El Duderino…”
“If you’re not into the whole brevity thing,” Billy added.
“The legendary Lebowski?” Sean looked into Orlando’s still confused face and almost laughed out loud. Usually the Brits were the ones making their jokes that only they understood and he was lost. Though Elijah was gradually developing a sense to comprehend their humor.
“Duh, sorry,” Orlando crossed his arms and lifted his bent leg up on the armrest, acting insulted. “I don’t know every film. And how many times have you played that sodding game there anyway?”
“Ah, stop freaking,” Billy said. “Just a few more minutes until the other guests arrive.”
The backdoor opened and a wave of clove odor hit Sean when Elijah reentered the living-room. Closing the door again and crossing the room, Elijah grabbed his half-empty beer bottle from the table and sat down in the couch that Orlando had occupied before Elijah had left to have a smoke.
“They’re not here yet?”
“Nope,” Billy glanced over his shoulder as he was far behind in the game anyway. “Wanna take over? I think you’re the only one who can beat this numpty and I still have something to prepare anyway.”
Elijah took a long swig of beer and smirked mischievously. “You might be right there. I have my ways to distract his concentration.”
“Should have known you two can’t keep it fair,” Billy taunted as he got up from the floor and walked into the kitchen.
Dominic let go of the control pad in his hand and called after him. “Hey, don’t toss me into the cheating pot.” Then he turned around in one swift movement and leaned back on his hands. “You’re ruining my honourable reputation, gay boy.”
“What honourable reputation?” Orlando frowned.
Dominic gasped and stared at Elijah who was grinning around the mouth of his bottle.
“Did you hear that?”
“He’s right. You’re a rotten soul,” Elijah shrugged nonchalantly and leaned back, taking another mouthful of beer.
Dominic tilted his head and looked at him with twinkling eyes. “You don’t wanna come home tonight…”
Putting on an extra guilty expression, Orlando lifted himself off his armrest. “Uh sorry,” he apologized for the second time and couldn’t help but ruffle Elijah’s hair. “Didn’t mean to cause any trouble in paradise.”
No, that’s really not your task, Sean thought to himself solemnly, keeping his bottle close to his face, like he was somehow trying to hide behind it.
Orlando stretched his arms and looked at the TV where the game was still on, but interrupted. “Star Wars,” he muttered and shook his head. “What’s the big deal with this anyway?”
“What is this blasphemy?” Dominic hissed in jest, very much aware though that Orlando was only saying this to tease him. The grin on Orlando’s face only confirmed this.
“Without Star Wars, Dom wouldn’t even be here,” Elijah said, but the words suddenly got stuck in his throat as the deeper meaning of these words hit him.
“That’s right,” Dominic leaned back on his elbows and bent his knees. “It’s the reason why I became an actor. Blew me completely away when I saw it for the first time. I mean, seriously, what little boy didn’t wanna be Han Solo?”
The reason why he became an actor. Without it, he wouldn’t be here. Without it, he wouldn’t have been cast in Lord of the Rings. He wouldn’t have come to New Zealand and Elijah never would have met him. Let alone, fallen in love with him. Dominic had told him about the significance of Star Wars to him before, but somehow the profound meaning stroke Elijah just now. It was interesting to see how certain things were connected and how one little thing, like a movie, could lead to an essential one, such as love.
“Okay, but just look at the plot,” Orlando argued. “You could tell it to a three year old. The helpless princess who gets kidnapped and the brave knight who tries to rescue her…it’s like a fairytale.”
“A fairytale in space, with cool characters,” Dominic said and sat up again. “That was the revolutionary thing about it. The plot is like something out of a medieval tale, but it’s an awesome space adventure, like nothing you’ve seen before in films. And with the bloody best villain in film history.”
Orlando grinned and crossed his arms. “And what about Gollum?”
“He’s not a villain,” Elijah interjected. “He’s just a victim. “Sauron is the real villain. But I have to admit, Darth Vader is a lot cooler.”
The ringing of the doorbell interrupted their discussion.
“Billy!” Dominic shouted in a louder voice than would have been necessary. “Get your sexy arse in here, the missing souls are here!”
Billy came back from the kitchen a few seconds later and playfully pinched Dominic’s cheek as he passed him on his way to the door.
“Oh, what would I do without you, love?”
“I know, I know. No need to thank me,” Dominic stood up and wiped his hands on his jeans. Billy opened the door and was immediately pulled into a tight embrace.
“Happy birthday,” Viggo patted Billy’s back before releasing him again.
“Hey, leave something for the rest,” Liv’s soft voice demanded beside him and she put down the box she was carrying on the table next to the door, so she could hug the smaller man with a smile. “Happy birthday, Billy.”
Billy smiled and closed the door behind them. “Thank you! I’m glad you could make it.”
“Sorry, we’re late,” Liv apologized as Billy took their coats from them. Running a hand through her long hair, she glanced into the mirror on the wall and picked up the box again.
Viggo watched her amused, rubbing his cold hands together in an attempt to warm them up a little.
“Apologize for yourself, love. We could have been finished much earlier, if you hadn’t insisted on several takes of that scene.”
“I can imagine. Thank you,” Billy accepted the box from Liv. He could already smell what was inside. “It’s not very convenient for your birthday to be on a Monday anyway. Not that it matters what day of the week it is, with our schedule.”
“True enough,” Viggo smiled and let Liv enter the living-room first.
He looked at her graceful frame as she went into the room. Her elfin look was really the only thing she had in common with the character she was playing. It was an undeniable fact that her beauty was almost unearthly and that she had an aura that put a spell on every male around her, but she was much more than that, like genuine, funny, caring. She could be goofy without ever losing the elegance that oozed from her. And she was girly without being too girly. Which was a good thing among auch a crazy and male-dominated cast.
“Oh, I really missed you guys,” Liv said after they all hugged one another.
“We missed you too, Princess,” Orlando put his arm around her shoulders as he looked at the box in Billy’s hands. “What’s that?”
“I guess only hobbits can smell that it’s something to eat,” Billy grinned and placed the carton on the table in front of the couch. He opened it and carefully lifted the round, chocolate cake out of it. On top of it, the number 32 was written with cream.
“Hey, that looks familiar,” Dominic remarked and feigned a hurt expression. “I thought the birthday cake you gave me was unique. Livvie Livvie, I’m very disappointed.”
“Well, it was,” Liv defended herself with laughter. “Yours had a 23 and it was made of chocolate only. Whereas this one has the reversed numbers, and there’s more to it than meets the eye.”
“Plus I helped her with yours,” Elijah wrapped his arms around Dominic’s waist and pressed his lips against a lightly stubbly cheek. Dominic stroked his fingers through Elijah’s soft hair and smiled at him.
“That makes it really unique.”
“Well, this cake is not just chocolate,” Liv said as Billy began slicing it into pieces. “I tried to add some whiskey aroma, but I have no idea if it worked and how it tastes.”
Billy’s eyes grew wide and he raised one of the slices to his nose. “How did you do that?” he asked, inhaling the odor and actually smelling a faint hint of the drink.
Liv smiled mysteriously and crossed her arms. “That’s my little secret.”
Viggo held up another package, but this one was smaller and it was wrapped up. “This is from Liv and me. An artistic collaboration.”
Putting the cake down on a plate, Billy rubbed his hands together and took the present. “A collaboration between you two? That can only be great, thank you!”
He cautiously removed the colorful paper and his eyes fell on a photo. He immediately knew who had taken it. Dominic, Elijah, Sean and Orlando gathered around him, each wanting to catch a glimpse at the same time. It was a black and white photography of Billy on set of the Amun Sûl Tower, dressed up in his hobbit costume and holding his dagger in a tight grip. The amazing thing was that it looked like Billy had been posing for the camera, but if he had, he would have remembered.
“It was on the first day of filming at Weathertop,” Viggo explained, stepping behind Billy and looking over his shoulder. “I was taking a break and you guys were getting ready for another scene. So, I took advantage of it,” he grinned.
“It’s great. I didn’t even notice that you were taking photos,” Billy traced the picture which was behind glass with a tender finger, like he was afraid he might break it, and then he touched the frame. Ornamental patterns were carved into it and the whole thing looked very professional.
“I made the frame,” Liv smiled and sat down in an armchair as she watched the bunch of boys in the middle of the living-room. “Don’t be envious, guys. When your birthdays come up, you may look forward to something similar.”
Elijah turned around and looked up at Viggo with admiring eyes. “How do you manage to take photos like these?” he asked, thinking about the photo of the four hobbits that Viggo had given him for his birthday
“Lots of practice and lots of passion, Elijah,” Viggo answered, putting a hand on Elijah’s shoulder. “You develop a sense for the right moment in the course of time and when to capture it perfectly. You don’t even have to think about it anymore. Those are usually the best pictures. And it’s never too late to start.”
Glancing at Dominic who was still studying the photo and the frame, Elijah smiled. Dominic had already picked up Viggo’s interest in photography and took his camera everywhere he went and Elijah thought he was mighty talented. Since they mostly went everywhere together, Elijah had never felt the urge to have a camera of his own. Plus he thought he would never be able to take better photos than Dominic anyway. But that might change now.
Eventually Billy could tear himself away from the present and leaned down to hug Liv.
“Thank you, it’s beautiful.”
“You’re welcome,” she said cheerfully and rubbed his back as she returned the hug. “Viggo really infects you with his creative bent.”
He does, Elijah thought and watched Billy pull Viggo into a grateful embrace. Since the divorce of his folks Elijah had always thought he was getting by just fine without a male parent in his life. He had resigned himself to the situation. It wasn’t like his father had been particularly present before the separation. He hadn’t supported his son’s acting career and Elijah couldn’t blame him for that. If he could blame him for something, it was staying behind in Iowa while Los Angeles became the center of his family. Elijah didn’t know everything and he wasn’t sure if he wanted to. He was fine. He wasn’t missing anything. Or anyone. Sometimes he wondered if he was being unfair because of this. But deep inside he knew better. And fear had a lot to do with him not wanting to learn the whole truth. Maybe it was better to leave some things covered. Yes, he had been fine. But Viggo had stirred something inside him that he had thought was buried once and for all. The wish to have a father figure. A male authority figure that he had never really known. And Viggo was basically the coolest father one could wish for. He had taken a special place in Elijah’s heart and hopefully he would stay there.
The quiet, raspy voice that still managed to send shivers down his spine interrupted Elijah’s thoughts and he felt Dominic slip his arm around his shoulders.
“You look like you’re miles away.”
Elijah turned his head and smiled up at him.
“Not exactly. Right here in this room.”
Of course Dominic had noticed that certain look which Elijah used to have whenever he was talking to Viggo and it warmed his own heart each and every time. Who wouldn’t want a daddy figure like Viggo, even if it was just a mental relationship? Elijah had never expressed it towards Dominic, but it was clear how he was feeling about the older man. And Elijah might not want to admit it to himself, but he needed someone like Viggo in his life.
Kissing Elijah’s temple, Dominic sank down on the sofa and pulled him against him. In moments like these he realized just how glad he was that they had made the decision to come out to their friends. He couldn’t even remember how they had managed to keep themselves under control before. Billy placed the photo on the little coffee table next to the couch and smiled happily.
“I don’t know about you, but I’m dying to try that interesting cake.”
“You’re not the only one,” Orlando said, taking a pile of plates from him and handing them out to everyone.
The cake was actually pretty good and, contrary to what Billy had thought at first, it did not make anyone drunk. That task was up to the various other sorts of alcohol that he had stored, mainly beer and wine. God only knew how they would manage to get up tomorrow morning. It didn’t take long and Orlando was lying sprawled out on the broad sofa. One arm covered his eyes and his breathing became low and deep. Not even the music seemed to be able to distract him. Dominic chuckled as he watched him and opened another beer bottle. Orlando was really way too sensitive for a Brit.
“Poor guy,” Liv approached the couch and knelt down next to him, brushing her gentle hand through his hair. “I think I’ll stay the night and nurse him when he wakes up.”
“Mmm, that lucky bloke,” Dominic winked as she smiled at him. “Well, you would make a beautiful couple, if I may say so.”
Liv got up again and sat down on the armrest next to Orlando’s head. “You may, but for some strange reason I feel more like he’s my little brother. And I’m a few months younger than him! Besides, I believe a certain someone at home would object.”
Dominic laughed. “I guess you feel older because you’ve been in the business longer than he is. A lot longer, compared to him.”
“Hmm, my first big movie was four years ago,” she said, glancing down at Orlando’s face. Or rather the arm across his face. “This is his first big movie.”
“But he was in that British Oscar Wilde movie a while ago for like two seconds, playing a rentboy and Oscar Wilde becomes totally speechless and even gayer at his sight,” Dominic chuckled, his fingers beginning to peel the label off his bottle. “Should have gotten it on with Jude Law. Now that would have been hot.”
Liv crossed her arms and grinned. Gay men really were no different from girls. She saw how Dominic peeked out of the window where a small glowing point indicated the tip of the clove Elijah was sucking on. Viggo was standing in front of him and talking while Elijah was listening intently to every word.
“You two still going strong?” Dominic turned away from the window again as he heard the question. Even though he cast his eyes down for a moment like he was feeling embarrassed for having been caught in an intimate situation, Liv didn’t miss the sparkle in them.
“We are,” he said and looked up again, an infatuated smile on his face. “Surprisingly.”
“Yeah, you know…against all odds,” he gestured wildly at the last words and chuckled, trying to make it sound half as serious as it actually was.
Liv narrowed her eyes as she watched him. She could tell that Dominic wasn’t feeling as lighthearted about it as he pretended to.
“Forget about the odds,” she said firmly. “You’re together and those who are closest to you know about it. That’s all that really matters. Forget about everyone else.”
Gorgeous, nice and open-minded. A perfect woman, Dominic thought, and raised the bottle to his mouth.
“You’re a good lass, Liv,” he said and took a sip of beer.
“Lass.” she grinned. “Oh yes. The infamous British slang. There’s definitely something about it, but even more about the accent. You know, my boyfriend is from England.”
He nodded and grinned as well, the bottle still against his lips.
“Innocent slang though. You should hear the British swearwords that Billy and I taught Lij. I don’t think his mum would like me that much anymore if she knew it all.”
Laughing and unfolding her arms, Liv stood up from her armrest seat.
“I said I missed you, but sometimes I’m glad that I don’t spend too much time in your company. Anyway,” she paused briefly as she stretched. “I think it’s time for me to go. It’s been a long day and I’m really tired.”
“See you around, love,” Dominic hugged her before letting her go and say good-bye to everyone.
Viggo insisted on joining her on her taxi ride home since he thought she shouldn’t be on her own at this time of day and after all they had arrived together, but she gratefully declined and was even a little amused by his, in her opinion, exaggerated concern. Yet Viggo was only being ever the gentleman that she cherished about him. Billy escorted her to the door and after one last embrace she made her way to the waiting car in his driveway. He watched as the driver opened the backdoor for her and when Billy was sure that Liv was brought home safely, he closed the door again. Just when he turned around, he found Sean standing in front of him. Billy jumped a little at the unexpected sight.
“Bloody shite Sean,” he chuckled, pressing a hand over his pounding heart. “Don’t give me a heart attack on my birthday.”
Sean shoved his hands into the pockets of his pants and looked at the floor with an embarrassed smile.
“I’m sorry. Didn’t mean to startle you.” He looked up again and Billy could see a tinge of sadness in his eyes.
“I’m leaving, too. Don’t wanna risk not being able to get up tomorrow. It’s been a great night, Billy.”
Sean smiled again, but Billy didn’t smile back. They were still in the hallway that was separated from the living-room by a door, so right now they were by themselves. And Billy was glad about it.
“Are you alright?” he asked.
Sean who was running a hand through his hair and grasping a few strands at the back of his head ceased all movements and looked at Billy with a frown.
“Just a little tired,” he said and judging by the tone of his voice, Billy could tell that Sean wasn’t even lying, but he wasn’t telling the whole truth either. Billy was a little surprised though that Sean didn’t once again use his family as a reason to leave.
“Yeah,” Sean lowered his hand again and put it back into his pocket. “Why are you asking?”
Billy continued to stare at him with that knowing gaze and folded his arms across his chest.
“You’ve been pretty quiet tonight. Anything on your mind?”
Sighing, Billy took a few steps towards him and lowered his voice.
“What is it?”
Sean wanted to turn away from those penetrating eyes, but it was impossible. If he hadn’t been so tired and weary, he would tried to use his best acting skills to somehow get out of the situation, but at the same time he knew that would have been in vain. Billy had noticed something and he could be damn stubborn if he wanted to.
“Why did you run out of the feet trailer the other morning? When Pete told us we had to do the scene for the third time?”
Sean sighed, his fingers fidgeting inside his pockets. No, Billy most certainly wouldn’t let him go anytime soon.
“I was just upset, is all,” he shrugged. “We all were. It’s understandable, isn’t it?”
“It is, absolutely,” Billy agreed. “But that’s exactly why we should stay together and support each other when something like that happens. Not just run off.”
“I didn’t run off,” Sean said desperately, not really wanting to spill everything here and now, but if Billy kept on pressing the matter like this, Sean knew he could give in eventually.
Billy raised his eyebrows as he waited for him to finish the sentence.
“I just wanted to get away…from them…,” Sean trailed off again and stared at the ground.
“Why?” Billy’s ever inquiring voice urged him to go on.
Sean didn’t look up. He just kept his eyes cast down, his hands in his pockets and stepped from one foot on the other. When he spoke again, the misery was clearly audible in his tone.
“Because I had a bad conscience…and I felt guilty…and ashamed…”
Billy frowned as he watched this pitiful man in front of him and seeing him like this, when he had thought everything was alright again, left him even more confused.
“Wait,” he said after a few moments of silence and trying to figure Sean’s words out. “I thought you talked to Dom and Elijah and the three of you made up? At least that’s what Dom told me.”
Sean raised his right hand and rubbed his eyes which were dark-rimmed and glistening with unshed tears.
“We did,” he said quietly, struggling to keep his voice from breaking down. “But…it’s so hard. I don’t know what to do. I can’t help but think that I destroyed the friendship that we had and that it will never be the same again, even though they forgave me. We just can’t fix it. Elijah is so wonderful and acting like nothing happened between us, but it’s still gnawing at me, Billy. I can’t get it into my head. I just…shit…”
He lost the struggle and his voice collapsed. He didn’t know what else to say anyway. He had said it all, he had confessed it all to Billy, and in his own twisted way, he had reached out to him, in a desperate need for a helping hand. Feeling a firm hand on his arm, he finally looked up again.
“You think beating yourself up like this will make anything better, Sean? They know that you’re sorry and all they want is to be together without anyone harassing them. You regret what you did, they know it and they want to move on. But if you keep on acting like this, if you keep on beating yourself up and don’t forgive yourself, they can’t move on. You exclude yourself completely from the rest of us, probably because you think you don’t deserve to be in our company or whatever, but in fact you’re only making things worse between you and them. I know Elijah talked to you and reached out to you. Do you think he would have done that if he thought it was hopeless? If you want their friendship and trust back as much as you claim, then stop this self-punishing bollocks and do something. Moping won’t get you anywhere, believe me.”
Sean felt not only like his butt had been kicked painfully, but also like his head had been smashed against a wall repeatedly. He wasn’t quite sure what he had expected from Billy. Maybe a few nice words of advice, some sort of empathy, but Billy’s words actually felt like a long, painful punch. Painful because Sean realized how true they were and how blind he himself had been. No, not blind. Selfish and full of self-pity. It was hard not to think that he had ruined everything. But the last thing he wanted was to torment Dominic and Elijah even more with his behavior.
“I…I’m sorry,” he said after a while, his hand grasping at his hair, like he wanted to tear it out. “I…shit…I know I’m difficult. I…fuck…I don’t know what to say…”
Billy let go of his arm again and allowed his expression to soften a little. Despite what he had said, he couldn’t help but feel sorry for Sean. He knew how fond Sean was of Elijah and how much he was struggling. Billy doubted that Sean and Dominic would ever have a life-long friendship and he also doubted that Sean minded. But Elijah was a different story. He was an astounding, admirable and nice young man, the baby of the Fellowship, who everyone had immediately taken to their hearts.
“You don’t have to say anything,” Billy told him. “You don’t have to bloody think about everything you say or don’t say. Just do everyone a favour and try to get over it. Or try harder to get over it.”
He pointed at the door to the living-room. “Now, since it’s my birthday and I’m allowed to wish for anything I want and none of my wishes may be denied, I wish you go back in there and finally go on with your life.”
Just in that moment the sound of laughter reached them from the room next door. A faint smile appeared on Billy’s face and he silently thanked whatever higher powers there were for this sentimental sign.
Sean turned his head and looked at the closed door. Then he turned to Billy again and before he even realized it, he flung his arms around him and was hugging him tightly.
“Thank you,” he murmured and was glad when he felt Billy hug him back.
“Just fulfill my birthday wish,” Billy said as they pulled apart again and when Sean smiled at him and then really turned around to reenter the living-room, Billy realized it was the first honest smile he had seen on Sean’s face in a very long time.